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Why Women Suffer from Anxiety: Biological and Environmental Threats

Why women suffer from anxiety. Anxious woman with her face buried in her hands.

Women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety disorders as men, and the symptoms begin earlier according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Women are by no means the weaker sex, but they do face unique biological and environmental factors that increase their predisposition towards anxiety disorders. Learn more as you help yourself or someone you love cope with these disorders.

Biological Causes

Are you familiar with the fight-or-flight response? It allows you to survive by fighting threats or escaping them. For women, that neurological response activates quicker and stays on longer than it does for men, thanks to two primarily female hormones estrogen and progesterone.

Those two hormones also cause PMS and menopause. The resulting hormonal shifts increase a women’s prevalence to suffer from anxiety.

Another hormone, serotonin also affects a woman’s predisposition to anxiety. Men process serotonin faster than women, which helps men handle stressful situations and move on. Meanwhile, women stay  stressed longer and think about the stressful situations longer, which makes them more vulnerable to long-term anxiety disorders.

Likewise, women possess a sensitivity to corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), the hormone that organizes stress responses. This sensitivity increases a woman’s likelihood to suffer from anxiety disorders because she senses reasons to feel anxious.

Environmental Causes

In addition to biological causes of anxiety disorders, several cultural contributors uniquely affect women and can create anxiety disorders.

  • Increased pressure to balance a successful career and a healthy home
  • Expectations to always be the strong core and sturdy backbone of the family
  • Responsibilities to nurture children, a spouse, parents and friends at her expense
  • Prolonged exposure to financial, relational or other stressors
  • Limited time or ability for adequate self-care

Women may be more predisposed than men to suffer from anxiety disorders. However, if you or someone you know suffers from anxiety disorders, contact me today. Schedule a consultation and discover effective treatment options that decrease anxiety and increase your quality of life.

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