Health News

Women More Likely To Experience Anxiety, Study Finds

Photo from Pixabay

A new British study has found that women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety compared to men. In general, people from North America or Western Europe have a higher risk of suffering from anxiety and anxiety-related disorders compared to the rest of the world.

In North America, close to eight out of 100 people suffer from anxiety, which is the highest in the world. In East Asia, the numbers are lower than three in 100 people, which is the lowest in the world, the study says.

Lead researcher Olivia Remes from the University of Cambridge’s Strangeways Research Laboratory, says that,

Anxiety is important and shouldn’t be overlooked. Sometimes people think that anxiety is just a part of their personality or that there’s nothing they can do about it, but there is.

Anxiety disorders are exhibited by excessive worry, fear and avoidance of situations that may be stressful, such as social gatherings. Remes says, “There are treatments, including psychological treatments and medication, and other things people can do to help their mental health, such as physical activity, meditation and yoga.”

Remes and her team looked at over 1,200 previous studies regarding anxiety and focused on 48 of them for their research. They found that from 1990 to 2012, the number of people with anxiety disorders remained approximately the same: around four out of 100.

They also discovered that women were more likely to have anxiety disorders at 9%, and as many as 10% of men and women under the age of 35 had anxiety and anxiety-related disorders. It’s unclear on why women are more prone than men, but Remes suggested it might have something to do with brain chemistry difference between the two genders.

Women are also more likely to suffer from mental health problems like depression. To add, men are less likely to report mental health issues. It’s also unclear why younger people are more likely to develop anxiety disorders, but Remes says older people just might be better at hiding or coping with their anxiety issues.

Those who are already going through health problems are also more likely to have anxiety disorders, the study found, with as many as 70% of patients reporting anxiety among their health issues. For example, 11% of people in Western countries who already have heart disease have anxiety disorders, too, especially women. People with multiple schlerosis were reported to be the most vulnerable to anxiety, with as many as 32%.

The research also found that obsessive-compulsive behaviour (OCD), which is an anxiety disorder, may sometimes affect women only during pregnancy and after giving birth. Only one in 100 people was found to be affected by OCD, but among pregnant women, the number doubled and increased slightly after childbirth.

In the USA alone, anxiety disorders cost an estimated $42 billion a year. In Europe, more than 60 million people suffer from anxiety disorders annually. Remes and her team also found a lack of information on anxiety in native populations in North America, Australia and New Zealand.

“Anxiety can be expressed differently in other cultures,” Remes said. “For example, social anxiety in the West – people are worried that people are always looking at them, being critical –they are extremely self-conscious, whereas people in Asian cultures are afraid of causing others offense.”

The study was published in the journal Brain and Behavior.

Click to comment
To Top

Hi - We Would Love To Keep In Touch

If you liked this article then please consider joing our mailing list to receive the latest news, updates and opportunities from our team.

We don't want an impostor using your email address so please look for an email from us and click the link to confirm your email address.