Are you struggling with anxiety? According to a new British study, odds are you’re a woman and you live in either Western Europe or North America.
The conclusion of the study shows women are more anxiety-prone than men, twice as likely to suffer from anxiety as their male counterparts. Furthermore, individuals living in North America and Western Europe are the most prone to developing anxiety disorders compared to people from other parts of the world.
In North America, the study found that almost eight in 100 people suffer from anxiety – the highest rate across the globe. By comparison, fewer than three in 100 people in East Asia deal with anxiety; the review authors noted this is the lowest rate.
“Anxiety is important and shouldn’t be overlooked,” said senior researcher Olivia Remes, who works with the department of public health and primary care at the University of Cambridge’s Strangeways Research Laboratory.
Some patients have come to think that anxiety is simply there – like another part of their personality – but things can change. In general, anxiety disorders are characterized by excessive fear, worry, and systematic avoidance of potentially stressful situations, such as social events.
Remes explained that medication and psychological treatments can often help with anxiety, as well as meditation, physical activity, and yoga, all of which improve mental health.
For the review, Remes’ team analyzed over 1,200 previously published studies on anxiety and focused on just 48 of them. From 1990 to 2010, the findings showed the overall number of people dealing with an anxiety disorder stagnated – approximately four out of every 100 individuals.
The analysis also showed that women were almost twice as likely as men to struggle with an anxiety disorder (9 percent). Overall, 10 percent of men and women under 35 had an anxiety disorder.
While researchers are not sure why women are more prone to anxiety, an explanation could be found in the differences in brain chemistry between the two genders.
As a matter of fact, women are not just prone to anxiety but are also more likely to suffer from depression and other mental health problems. Men may also be less likely to report having mental health problems.
Furthermore, 70 percent of those struggling with other health problems are also more likely to have anxiety disorders. The review’s findings were featured in the journal Brain and Behavior.
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