Everyone has anxiety from time to time. Nerves before a big meeting, or a first date. But, not everyone's anxiety gets so bad it actually stops them from doing these types of things.
If you find your anxiety to be debilitating it might be part of a larger anxiety disorder.
And you wouldn't be alone.
Psychotherapist and writer Rita Milios, LCSW, tells Bustle that anxiety disorders are much more common in women.
"Men are somewhat more protected from anxiety because of their higher levels of testosterone. Testosterone calms the amygdala, the brain's 'fight or flight' center, and also enhances the natural calming effects of the brain chemical GABA. Culturally, men have been socialized to be more 'in control' of their emotions, so they may more often present with some of the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as racing heart, dizziness, vertigo, or insomnia," she says.
According to womenshealth.gov, "Anxiety disorders affect nearly one in five adults in the United States. Women are more than twice as likely as men to get an anxiety disorder in their lifetime."
If you recognize any of the following in yourself, it might be a good idea to get some help, so that you can be the best you possible.
"Women with anxiety disorders experience a combination of anxious thoughts or beliefs, physical symptoms, and changes in behavior, including avoiding everyday activities they used to do," womenshealth.gov explains.
"Each anxiety disorder has different symptoms. They all involve a fear and dread about things that may happen now or in the future."
On the physical side, symptoms may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid heart rate
- Upset stomach
- Hot flashes
Unfortunately, women are less likely than men to seek help for their anxiety.
"The kind of psychology of and stigma associated with fear and with worry, both are which important symptoms of anxiety disorders, sort of dictate whether or not people think it's appropriate to seek help," Kristen Carpenter, PhD at the Center for Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center tells Bustle.
"So it appears that men when feeling fearful or worried see this as different or pathological or they're in need of help because of it and therefore, more motivated to seek out help. Whereas women, the theory goes all the way back to the Victorian era in which hysteria was an actual diagnosis for women or neurosis were a common diagnosis for women."
But you're not hysterical, you're not crazy, you just need a little help. There is absolutely nothing wrong with needing a little help.
So, if you're feeling like your anxiety is keeping you from living your life, ask your doctor about ways he or she can help you to suffer less. We promise it'll be worth it.