5 Ways Anxiety Symptoms Differ in Women

Jenny Smith, LCSW, CCTP, CCTHP on Sep 15, 2022 in Mood and Feelings

It is estimated that 42% of adults in the United States were diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in 2021 alone. This is a startling statistic, but it's not surprising. It isn’t that shocking in light of recent events such as the pandemic and political conflict. What is more surprising is that anxiety disorders, or Generalized Anxiety Disorders, are experienced differently by men and women. The core symptoms of anxiety are the same no matter a person’s gender. However, the key difference in how women experience anxiety versus men is what causes it.

Let’s go over the symptoms of anxiety in women.

Symptoms Of Anxiety In Women

1. Excessive Worrying

Both men and women experience excessive worrying when they have an anxiety disorder. However, women often experience this to another degree. Why? For starters, women often take on the bulk of domestic duties such as household cleaning, cooking, and caring for their children. They are also more likely to be depended on for other people’s emotional well-being.

Because they have so much on their plates, it is common for many women to worry much more than men. The pressure to perform so much for others can cause women to excessively worry. That is not to say that men do not have excessive worries, but women are just more likely to experience it chronically.

2. Irritability

Because women are under so much pressure, it is common for them to feel irritable. Often, a woman is the one who always puts others first and never herself. From her children to her spouse or partner, family, and friends, her needs are put on the back-burner.

Being the person everyone depends on makes you feel like you have no one to depend on. After all, you have to be strong and present for everyone else. Sometimes, this can manifest into irritableness when a woman is not receiving the support she is often giving to other people.

3. Easily Fatigued

A women’s job is truly never done. From caring for other people, the house, and their own careers, women are more likely to experience fatigue or burnout. When women get the chance to relax and settle into bed at night, they are more likely to have trouble falling asleep. It’s not because they aren’t exhausted; they are likely mentally and physically burned out. However, lying in bed at night does not mean sleep will come easily because they are already thinking about what they must do the following day.

4. Women Are Diagnosed With Anxiety More Than Men

Note that this doesn’t mean that men don’t experience anxiety at the same rates as women. However, this means that women are more likely to seek help for mental health concerns such as anxiety or depression. Why? A lot of it has to do with the fact that men are more likely to deal with anxiety silently because of the stigma surrounding men and mental health. Men are raised with the impression that it is considered a weakness to admit that they have a problem or need help with their mental health.

5. There Are Biological Differences, Too

Key female hormones, such as estrogen, are a top reason why women experience anxiety differently. Estrogen causes the fight or flight response (aka the anxiety response) to be activated more quickly and to last longer.

Whether you are a man or woman, anxiety can be debilitating. It affects everyday life and can cause you to feel as if you are never relaxed. Both men and women need to seek support for their mental health. Anxiety therapy can help women deal with their everyday stressors easier. Let’s connect so I can help get you on this path.

Jenny Smith is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Santa Rosa Beach, FL.

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