Woman And Anxiety –
Why Are Women More Anxious?
Orlando psychologists and therapists specializing in anxiety disorders note that 40 million adults in the United States, age 18 and older, are affected by an anxiety disorder and that children of parents with an anxiety disorder are seven times as likely to also have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety can affect all individuals, men, women, children and adolescents.
Are Women Really More Anxious?
According to research from Harvard Medical School, women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety than men. The study also reports that women are twice as likely to experience social anxiety and panic disorder and three times as likely to suffer from agoraphobia. Women also face a higher risk for specific phobia and generalized anxiety disorder. Women with anxiety often experience physical symptoms of anxiety such as tension, heart palpitations, insomnia, aches, pains and irritable bowel syndrome.
Why Are Women More Anxious?
There are several theories for why women suffer disproportionately from anxiety. Biological factors, brain chemistry, higher empathy levels and hormonal fluctuations as well as different life experiences may all have a part in the disparity. For some women, anxiety manifests itself as constant worry about family, about health, and about various situations and things over which the woman may have no control over whatsoever. For many women with anxiety, anxiety is the result over the fact that so many things feel like they are completely out of her control.
In our society, women are asked to fill a number of stressful and sometimes conflicting roles: mother, wife, worker, caregiver, friend, etc., thereby devoting more energy, time and attention to taking care of others, which certainly can contribute to feeling anxious, particularly when women do not balance their caretaking roles with self-care. In addition, many women were raised to passively accept problems and rather than taking action and solving problems, many women have been conditioned to worry about the problem.
Women can also experience anxiety due to negative feelings about her body or about her physical attractiveness. Negative body image can contribute to panic disorders and in some cases, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, a disorder in which people have a particularly negative and biased view about one or more aspects of their appearance. For some women, anxiety about their physical attractiveness and love life can lead to the irrational fear that they will end up alone and lonely.
Sex hormones like estrogen also play an important role in anxiety, especially during the hormonal ups and downs of PMS, perimenopause and menopause. Additionally, increased levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, or an imbalance of thyroid hormones can contribute to anxiety.
Steps You Can Take…
Orlando anxiety therapists at Groundwork Counseling have found that it is often high-achieving women, who outwardly appear to have it all together, that suffer from anxiety. Anxiety therapists and psychologists recommend that women limit their caffeine intake, begin an exercise routine, have hormone levels checked and practice deep breathing, muscle relaxation and yoga. If you are still feeling anxious, an anxiety therapist that specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy can help you to become aware of unhealthy, negative thought patterns and work actively with you to change them.