Why Women Are More Vulnerable To Anxiety

Women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety as men.

According to a new British study, published in the June issue of the Journal Brain and Behaviour, you are more likely to live with an anxiety disorder if you are female and reside in North America or Western Europe.

Do You Have an Anxiety Disorder?


Are you concerned that you may be living with an anxiety disorder? Know the facts about the signs and treatment options.

The research characterises anxiety disorders based on whether or not an individual experiences:

  • Excessive worry,
  • Fear,
  • And the desire to avoid potentially stressful situations, such as social interactions

Do these apply to you? Seek advice from your GP or a psychologist. Stress disorders are more than possible to overcome and your quality of life will improve as a result of seeking the correct help.

“Anxiety is important and shouldn’t be overlooked,” said lead researcher Olivia Remes, who’s with the department of public health and primary care at the University of Cambridge’s Strangeways Research Laboratory. “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.”

Remes continues; “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.”

Why Are Women More Vulnerable?


Remes’ review examined more than 1200 previous anxiety studies, eventually focusing on 48 in particular. From these findings the team was able to conclude the following:

  • Since 1990 four out of every 100 people can be classified as having a stress disorder.
  • Women are twice as likely to have a stress disorder
  • And 10% of all people under the age of 35 have a stress disorder.

Since discovering that women are more prone to anxiety than men, the team has attempted to understand what makes women more vulnerable. As of yet this is still unclear, however, Remes has suggested that it may be linked to the difference in brain chemistry between men and women.

This view is strengthened by the fact that the study subsequently found that women have been prone to temporary OCD only during and immediately after pregnancy. Usually, only one in every 100 people is affected by the stress disorder. However, among pregnant women this number is doubled.

Does Your Culture Affect Your Anxiety Disorder?


“Anxiety can be expressed differently in other cultures,” Remes says. “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.”

Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein, president and CEO of the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation in New York City, says that; “more research is needed on anxiety disorders and treatments that are culturally sensitive.” He adds that stress disorders have not received the attention it requires.

“There are effective treatments, including talk therapy, medication and lifestyle changes,” Borenstein says. “There are a number of steps people can take to help their condition.”

Did You Know?

  • People living in North America and Western Europe are more prone to anxiety disorders. Eight out of every 100 people lives with a stress disorder.
  • People living in East Asia are least likely to have stress disorders, with three out of every 100 people living with the condition.
  • 70% of people living with health problems also suffer from a stress disorder.
  • 11% of people with heart disease, in western countries, have a stress disorder, especially women.
  • 32% of people with multiple sclerosis have stress disorder.