Reasons why women suffer from anxiety more than men
Anxiety disorder is a mental disorder where the person suffering from it can feel anxiety and fear, resulting in palpitation, sweating and general shakiness. Reasons can be genetics, some past experience or environmental factors. Nearly 12% people suffer from this disorder in any given year. A study published in a U.K. based medical journal Brain and Behavior has stated that women are twice more likely to suffer from an anxiety disorder in their life than men. They can be affected by this disorder as early as in their teens.The same holds true with another mental disorder – Depression. Why is it that women seem to be more affected by these mental disorders than men? Let’s explore the reasons.
A Research by Swedish scientists has shown that women produce less Serotonin than men. Serotonin is a chemical that is responsible for moodiness. It impacts our emotional health and lower levels of serotonin in the body would result in mental disorders like depression and over anxiety.
Another, reason is the fluctuation in hormone levels in a female’s body during mensuration, child birth and menopause. An important hormone estrogenactivates serotonin receptors in the brain. Estrogen and progesterone hormones fluctuate a lot during mensuration and pregnancy which are a major cause for a women’s “moodiness”.
Corticotropin releasing factor or CRF is a hormone released in the brain in response to stress.Females tend to hold onto this hormone whereas male brain adapts to this hormone. Thus, after a while the male brain stops responding to this hormone. What it all means is that women tend to remain stressed for longer periods of time than men.
Post-partum depression is found in nearly 20% women in the USA. Men too suffer from this depression but the percentage is quite low. Along with depression women also suffer from post-partum anxiety, post-partum panic disorder, post-partum obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-partum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and post-partum psychosis. These disorders start at childbirth and can last up to a year. The reasons are both emotional and physical. Lack of sleep, changed routines and changed hormone levels all contribute towards the onset of this type of depression and anxiety.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Another, common form of depression found in women is PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). PTSD occurs after a person has suffered sexual assault, abuse or accident. It occurs more in assault cases than accidents. Because, women are more targeted in sexual assault, they become victims of PTSD more than men.
Women are generally, required to fit many roles - mother, wife, caregiver and employee. Issues like single mom, gender inequality at work add to the stress. They are required to not only do their work competently but also to look good while doing it. Body shaming takes a toll on women’s lifestyle and heath. Unhealthy diets contribute towards unhappiness.
Women do seem to be at a disadvantage when coping with stress and anxiety but,family support and partners care can help them deal with the many stressful situations in their lives more positively.