Almost all mental health conditions affect both men and women equally. But a few mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety are more commonly associated with women than men. This is because a lot of women have to deal with traumatic experiences, such as physical abuse, sexual molestation, emotional torture and mental harassment, which pave the way for chronic mental problems.
At times, even hormonal fluctuations associated with menstruation, pregnancy and childbirth can play a significant role in triggering specific mental disorders. And now a new study published in the journal BMJ revealed that poor living conditions can increase the risk of anxiety in women but not in men.
In the study done by researchers at the University of Cambridge, it was found that women living in poor areas and those who were deprived were 60 percent more likely to develop generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) than women living in affluent areas. However, men remained unaffected by any such lack or deficiency. GAD is an anxiety disorder characterized by persistent and excessive worry about various aspect of one’s life, including work, finances, relationships and health, which, in turn, increases the risk for serious medical conditions and substance misuse.
Since ages, managing and raising a family have been women’s domain. Hence, while men are considered the breadwinners of the family, it is the women who ensure proper food, health and sustenance of each and every family member. Therefore, poverty hits them harder than it does to men as it inculcates worries about challenges in fulfilling the basic needs such as better living condition, good health of the family, financial crunch, unemployment, etc. Consequently, poverty, along with a lack of social support, exposes women from low-income groups to anxiety and depressive disorders.
As a result, a majority of the women living in poorer areas are not only surrounded by negative thoughts and worries about the future, but also exhibit symptoms like restlessness, insomnia, frequent headaches, back pain and joint pain, and irritability. Unfortunately, the ongoing pressure of deprivation can also lead to the development of negative coping behaviors such as alcohol and substance abuse. “Anxiety disorders affect a substantial number of people and can lead to poor health outcomes and risk of suicide,” observed the study.
As per the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), GAD affects 6.8 million adults, or 3.1 percent of the U.S. population, in any given year, with women twice more likely to be affected by the condition. While biological factors, family background, and negative life experiences are known to be the potential triggers for GAD, the exact cause of the disorder is still unknown.
Some of the debilitating outcomes of anxiety include the development of other psychiatric disorders and suicidal tendencies. It also increases the economic burden to the community. If an individual suspects that he or she is experiencing the symptoms of anxiety, it is advisable to not wait and seek treatment immediately.
Anxiety disorders are way different from occasional anxiety that occurs only when exposed to unfavorable conditions. Therefore, one should not ignore the prolonged symptoms and seek immediate medical help as an untreated condition can further lead to chronic mental health condition. Hence, if you or someone you love is struggling with any kind of anxiety disorder, contact the Anxiety Treatment Advisors of Colorado to access a variety of evidence-based treatment plans. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-891-2539 or chat online to connect with the best anxiety disorders treatment centers in Colorado.