Stereotypically, women are considered worriers while men are portrayed as footloose and fancy-free. In truth, anxiety is a natural emotion for all humans. In fact, anxiety helps us avoid harm and danger. However, it is when anxiety becomes a chronic, even debilitating condition leading to a variety of symptoms such as depression, compulsion, phobia, and/or panic attacks where a cause for concern lies. And yes, women more likely to suffer from anxiety disorders and panic attacks.
As clinical social worker Jerilyn Ross, author of Triumph Over Fear: A Book of Help and Hope for People with Anxiety, Panic Attacks and Phobia, states “when anxiety becomes disproportionate to the situation and leads to avoidance of the fear-inducing situation and other undesirable consequences, it should be assessed”, she says. “And yes women are twice as likely to suffer.” But, why is it that women are more likely to experience anxiety and panic attacks than men?
Experts site both social/cultural and biological reasons that may contribute to a woman being more prone to anxiety and panic attacks than men. Cultural factors include the predominate ideal in society that women are expected to marry and raise children; that women are expected to bear the burdens of others and be caretakers, often to the neglect of their personal needs. Consequently, it is believed that because women are generally less assertive than men that women deal with more suppressed stress that eventually manifests itself through anxiety and/or panic.
Additional biological contributors, experts say, may include women undergo more drastic physical changes than men, including menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause which effect hormones and mood. Yet, while the exact cause of anxiety and panic attacks is unknown, and the specific reasons behind why women are more likely than men to experience such are also speculative.
In sum, anxiety is a very real condition. And, as with any disease or disorder, anxiety is not a respecter of persons. If you suspect that you may be suffering from one of the aforementioned conditions, remember that you do not have to live in fear. There is hope. There are various treatments to help you cure yourself of anxiety and panic attacks. Knowledge is power! And you have the power to take that first step toward conquering anxiety.