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How does anxiety affect men?

Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health conditions worldwide. While they tend to affect women more than men, men are still widely affected. Due to different social and biological factors, men’s experiences of anxiety, from coping styles to treatment-seeking behaviors, differ from women’s.

Anxiety disorders are characterized from excessive fear and worry, and behavioral disturbances. They include:

In 2019, 301 million people worldwide were living with an anxiety disorder, including 58 million children and adolescents. Dear All suggest that women are more affected than men; 23.4% of women have anxiety in a given year in the United States, and the same goes for 14.3% of men.

While common in men, anxiety disorders have been largely overlooked in the men’s mental health literature, meaning there is little high-quality research on the topic.

Today’s medical news spoke with four mental health experts on topics ranging from how anxiety expresses itself differently in men and women, to how men seek treatment, and what might improve the way they think about the condition and seek support.

A revision 2021 of 25 studies that investigated anxiety among men found that anxiety symptoms differ between men and women.

The researchers found that men report greater severity of anxiety and are more likely to report physical symptoms such as headache, loss of appetite and body tremors, along with feelings of loss of control compared to women of the same age.

They also found that anxiety among men tends to focus on feelings of lack of control and the perception of “being a failure” if they cannot regain control of anxiety states. Men also often describe their symptoms as “long-lasting, ever-present, and sometimes lifelong.”

While mild anxiety has been linked to better cognitive performance, severe anxiety has been linked to reduced cognitive function. Other research suggests that anxiety disorders are linked to lower quality of life and reduced social functioning.

Research has sometimes found differences in the emotional regulation strategies of men and women. Therefore, it suggests that some men may tend to revert to problem-based coping more frequently, while some women may opt for more avoidant coping strategies, such as seeking emotional support.

Although problem-based coping strategies can be effective in situations that are controllable or adjustable, they can crumble if these conditions are not met. At this point, men are more likely than women to “self-medicate” as a form of avoidance behavior.

“Men may often use alcohol, tobacco, and other prescription and over-the-counter medications to reduce or control the experience and symptoms of anxiety,” said Dr. Derek M. Griffith, founder and director of the Center for Men’s Health. Equity, and professor of health systems management and oncology at Georgetown University said MNT.

“Men can imagine the worst possible scenario and reason that it is smarter for them to avoid a situation because that scenario may be possible,” he added.

When asked why men may use problem-based coping more than women, Dr. Thomas Fergus, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Baylor University, said MNT that the way children are taught to manage emotional states may play a role in coping styles.

He noted that women are generally socialized focus on emotional states more often than men and that men are more socialized to focus on problem solving and control their negative emotions.

“Men are less likely to access anxiety treatments through typical medical pathways and less likely to seek initial treatment,” said Lee Chambers, a psychologist and wellness consultant in a conversation with MNT.

“Stereotypical masculine traits play a role in reducing a man’s ability to express his challenges, seek further support and stay connected to the treatment provided,” he added.

A to study found that young men’s reluctance to seek help for anxiety stems from confidentiality concerns, perceived stigma, self and peer judgment, and the assumption that it won’t help.

The same study also found that young men report a lack of understanding of anxiety disorders, which translated into limited awareness of treatment and health-seeking options.

Dr Griffith said:

“Only in the last few decades has the low rate of men seeking medical help been seen as a problem. Historically, men’s help-seeking rates were considered the norm, and services were thought to be abused by women. While not unique to anxiety, men are more likely than women to delay seeking help and endure minor symptoms for fear of wasting the doctor’s time or failing as men.”

“Part of the challenge is understanding how men think about anxiety and other aspects of mental or physical health. For many men, anxiety is something they would seek help for only when it gets in the way of their job performance or their ability to fulfill other roles and responsibilities. Even then, it’s not uncommon for men to see anxiety as something they have to deal with rather than something a professional can treat,” he added.

“From a proactive standpoint, men can look to foster emotional resilience by working to communicate and express emotions in healthy ways, manage their stress levels, and improve their self-esteem,” said Chambers.

“Developing healthy relationships gives you more room to express yourself, and focusing on the fundamentals of eating right, sleeping optimally, and moving your bodies can provide the emotional balance to increase self-care and compassion,” she continued.

Dr. Danielle Cooper, an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, said MNT that working to remove the stigma around mental health could help more men seek treatment.

“Given the stigma around mental health, some people may hold on to unhelpful beliefs that asking for help or having anxiety is weak or that psychotherapy won’t help,” he noted.

“People may benefit from learning that anxiety itself is adaptive and can be useful, for example, in improving performance or motivating behavior. When anxiety becomes less helpful and more intrusive, it is important to seek treatment. Anxiety disorders are often maintained, in part, by avoidance. It takes a lot of strength and courage to face fears, not weakness.”

– Dr. Danielle Cooper

Chambers agreed that removing the stigma around mental health is crucial: “More men are speaking openly about anxiety in society and sharing their stories, and this can be a flag in the sand for other men to step up.” Go ahead and be honest about your current situation. feelings.”

Seeing openness as a courageous step towards the strength of being vulnerable is at the heart of projects around the world, and there is more strength in sharing than we often realise.

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