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Scientists have discovered why women are more nervous than men

Ученые выяснили, почему женщины нервничают сильнее мужчинScientists became aware of the cause of excessive emotionality of women and the tendency to intense emotions.

Anxiety disorders, manifested as excessive fear, anxiety, and muscle tension, are debilitating and increase the risk of depression and suicide. This is one of the most common mental diseases worldwide: anxiety disorders suffer four out of a hundred and cost the health care system and employers in more than $42 billion annually.

People with anxiety are less productive and miss work more often. Young people with anxiety disorders less likely to successfully graduate from high school and succeed in life. However, despite the fact that anxiety disorder is a serious mental problem, researchers, doctors and politicians pay them enough attention.

Together with representatives of the University of Cambridge we wanted to find out who are more susceptible to anxiety disorders. Which conducted a systematic review of research on this topic worldwide. Our results showed that in women anxiety disorders occur almost twice as often than men, and that often these disorders suffer living in Europe and North America.

Why women?

Why risk of anxiety disorders among women higher than among men? Maybe it’s the differences in the chemical composition of the brain and hormonal fluctuations. Reproductive events in a woman’s life are accompanied by hormonal changes that are associated with anxiety. The increase in the number of estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy increases the risk of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), characterized by a disturbing recurrent thoughts, impulses, and obsession.

Between the first symptoms and the first treatment to the doctor may take more than a decade
But, in addition to biological mechanisms, women and men seem to have different perceptions of what is happening in their life events and, accordingly, different they react. Women are more susceptible to stress, which increases the risk of anxiety. Also, the women’s and men’s different approaches to how to cope with stressful situations.

Women, faced with a stressful situation, are more likely to ponder over it, while men prefer active, problem focused approaches. Other studies show that women more often than men exposed to physical and psychological violence, this in turn may lead to development of anxiety disorders. Violence against children is also associated with changes in the chemical processes and brain structure, according to previous research, women survivors of sexual violence may experience abnormal blood flow in the hippocampus, a brain region involved in processing emotions.

Unsettling The West

Our review also showed that residents of North America and Western Europe are more susceptible to anxiety disorders than other parts of the world. It is not entirely clear what may be the cause of such differences. Perhaps the fact that our tools to identify symptoms of anxiety, designed primarily for Westerners who are not able to determine how anxiety disorders manifest themselves in different cultures.

In other cultures (non-Western) anxiety may manifest differently. For example, social anxiety in the West, as a rule, is reflected in the strong fear of social situations, fear of condemnation and criticism during the dialogue and performances.

However, in Asia, is close to the aforementioned construct of taijin kyofusho, which is manifested as a persistent and irrational fear to offend or embarrass someone because of alleged own imperfections. Moreover, other cultures may be ashamed to talk about the symptoms of anxiety that representatives of Western cultures to discuss quite comfortably – this means that the figures given in the research for developing and underdeveloped countries may not show the real proportions.

The bulk of research on the topic of mental health was also held in Europe and North America, and very few had been anxiety disorders in other parts of the world. In diverse cultures the manifestations of anxiety disorders may vary significantly, but you need a more effective evaluation methods.

In any case, we now know that anxiety disorders are common, are costly, and lead to serious human suffering. We also know that those who suffer most are women and people of developed countries. Understanding who is most vulnerable to an anxiety disorder, can help planning and treatment.

What can I do?

Anxiety disorders usually start at an early stage of life, and then become chronic, and between first symptoms and first treatment to the doctor may take more than a decade. At this point, the disorder is already quite serious; in addition, there are other psychological problems such as depression. This complicates the treatment of the detected disorders.

Early detection of symptoms is important in order to prescribe treatment. Many people choose cognitive behavioral therapy, demonstrating efficacy in the treatment of anxiety. You can also practice meditation and life-changing to improve your mental health – for example, exercise regularly or go to yoga.

The knowledge that anxiety disorder is typical among Westerners and women is a big step forward.

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