November 11, 2021
Starting from the age of puberty till about 50 years of age, women have a two-time higher risk of developing an anxiety disorder as compared to men. The increased risk of developing anxiety disorders in women may be attributed to the difference in brain chemistry. This difference accounts for an increased prevalence of anxiety disorders in women, with comparatively more active fight-or-flight response mechanism. In addition, the contributory fight-or-flight response is known to stay activated for a longer period in women compared to men, possibly due to the action of estrogen and progesterone.
Women, as researchers point out, are also more vulnerable to develop anxiety disorders due to the increased sensitivity to low levels of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), a hormone responsible for inducing stress responses in mammals.
Watch out for signs
In view of the higher risk of women to suffer from stress and anxiety, they need to stay vigilant for the possible triggers and early signs of an anxiety disorder, which may include:
Experiencing frequent panic attacks: Characterized by symptoms like palpitations, shortness of breath or feeling choked, sweating, nausea, dizziness, abdominal discomfort, numbness or tingling; panic disorders bother women more than men. Additionally, panic attacks may also evoke a sense of unreality, a fear of losing control, sensation of having a heart attack, losing one’s mind, or dying. If women with undiagnosed anxiety experience these symptoms, they should immediately meet a psychiatrist to seek treatment at the earliest.
A persistent sense of worry: While it is common for women to experience worry, a persistent sense of stress or worry that affects their daily activities need attention. Women showing excessive worrying even about ordinary day-to-day activities including work, family, health, and money may be suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). GAD makes the mind jump straight to the worst-case scenario, even in routine affairs. Sometimes, worrying over petite issues does not let women perform their everyday tasks.
Scared of even the thought of being in social situations: Some women are wary of social situations. Meeting people or attending social gathering tends to make them anxious or self-conscious. This aversion to social situations may hint at social phobia or social anxiety disorder. Women who avoid social situations for the fear of being watched and getting judged by others may be suffering from social anxiety disorder.
Experiencing a sense of fear when leaving home: Some women feel scared of leaving the house, thinking that somebody would harm them physically. Others are scared of closed spaces or areas from where they think they cannot escape. Referred to as agoraphobia, people suffering from this condition restrict themselves to their houses and leave home only in the company of someone they feel safe with.
Bothered by troubling memories of past: This situation may be associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a mental disorder caused due to traumatic past experience/s. Women who have bad dreams, flashbacks reminding them of bad memories of the past, or frightening thoughts may be suffering from PTSD. However, the diagnosis can only be confirmed by a certified mental health expert.
Being easily startled, having difficulty sleeping, feeling tense or “on edge” and having anger outbursts are other symptoms associated with the diagnosis of PTSD. Having troubled sleep (particularly insomnia) may bother women who are suffering from anxiety disorders, with complaints of nightmares and restlessness.
Seek help if symptoms persist
While these symptoms may not necessarily indicate an anxiety disorder in women, precautionary measures can help prevent any possible complication. Invictus Health Group can help you with credible information about residential anxiety treatment centers in California so that you may seek timely consultation. Call our 24/7 helpline 866-548-0190 or chat online to know about inpatient anxiety treatment in California and safeguard the mental health of the important women in life.