Women face double the risk of anxiety disorder compared to men: Study

With their new study, researchers at the University of Cambridge hope to raise awareness against anxiety. The research paper published in journal Brain and Behavior has unveiled women and youngsters are more vulnerable to develop anxiety.

The study findings are based on the assessment of nearly 50 systematic reviews on people who are at more vulnerable to anxiety disorders. Study’s lead researcher Olivia Remes at the University of Cambridge said that they have focused on the prevalence of anxiety disorders between 1990 and 2010.

It was found that every four out of 100 people had anxiety in that time period. For now, clear mechanisms are not known that put women at higher risk of developing anxiety. There is a possibility that women tend to accept the fact if they are having anxiety and seek help for the same than men.

Another possibility could be that emotional or hormonal undercurrents could be the reason. Women are twice as likely to have an anxiety disorder as men, unveiled Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA).

“We don’t really know for sure why women and young people are most affected, but it could be that women are more impacted than men because of brain chemistry and hormonal fluctuations”, said Remes.

Remes further affirmed that women have a more traditional role to play like to take care of young, so they might be more prone to worrying. So, when they are stressed, they are more prone to develop anxiety.

Not only women and young people under the age of 35, but anyone living in Western countries or North America is at a higher risk of developing an anxiety disorder. The researchers have found that the problem is more in North America than in other parts of the world.

According to a story published on the topic by BBC News, Anxiety disorders could make life extremely difficult. “There has been a lot of focus on depression – which is important – but anxiety is equally important and debilitating; it can lead to the development of other diseases and psychiatric disorders, increase the risk for suicide and is associated with high costs to society.” “It is important for our health services to understand how common they are and which groups of people are at greatest risk.”

Stephen Buckley, head of information at mental health charity Mind, said anxiety was one of the most common mental health problems in the UK. “Many people wait too long before seeing their GP, discounting social anxiety as just day-to-day stress. “But it’s not the same as being ‘a bit shy’ and it’s important to seek help as soon as possible if you feel like your anxiety is interfering with your ability to do the things you normally would.”

“Anxiety disorders like social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, agoraphobia, panic disorder, and general anxiety are the most common forms of mental illness in the U.S. An estimated 18 percent of all American adults have an anxiety disorder, costing more than $42 billion a year. America is unique in this regard, according to the largest ever global analysis. Some regions of the world, including the U.S. but also Western Europe, have higher rates of anxiety disorders in general. What’s more, some groups within the U.S. have a higher risk of anxiety disorder diagnosis than others,” according to a recent Huffington Post report.

“Much more research needs to be done on people identifying as lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) because anxiety is an important issue in this group,” Remes said. “Also, Aboriginal people living in Canada, the U.S., New Zealand, and other parts of the world are at a significantly increased risk for poor health, yet we know so little about their mental health.” “[Anxiety disorders] can increase the risk for suicide, disability, and poor quality of life,” Remes said. “If we don’t know who is most affected by anxiety, we cannot do anything to decrease the human and economic burden associated with these disorders.”

A report published in Medical Daily News informed, “When it comes to women having a higher risk of developing anxiety, more research will be needed to understand the specific mechanisms that play a role in the trend. It’s possible that women tend to accept mental health issues and seek help more often than men, and thus have a higher diagnostic rate, but scientists also hypothesize that there may be emotional or hormonal undercurrents as well. Women are twice as likely to have an anxiety disorder as men.”

“We don’t really know for sure why women and young people are most affected, but it could be that women are more impacted than men because of brain chemistry and hormonal fluctuations,” Remes told Medical Daily. “Women have had the more traditional role of caring for the young, so evolutionarily speaking, they may be more prone to worrying. And when they’re exposed to stress, they’re more likely to develop anxiety.”

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