Even though anxiety is more frequently diagnosed in women, men are affected by this condition as well. Why we see less cases of anxiety in men may be due to the fact that men are less likely to seek help, because they do not see the importance of dealing with their anxiety issues. Negligence for this mental condition can lead to a decreased quality of life and for many men it has led to suicidal tendencies.
3 Facts about Men and Anxiety
- Men can suffer from various types of anxiety disorders such as: Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other.
- Compared to women, men are more prone to suffer from anxiety issues related to masculinity and shyness, career performance and similar.
- Men who suffer from anxiety may suffer with sexual performance
Estrogen is a hormone that is interacts with serotonin to help modulate mood and behavior. It’s also a hormone that isn’t produced in high quantities in men, which in turn makes them more prone to serotonin imbalances that cause drops in mood and feelings of stress, worry and anxiety. In addition, low estrogen levels have been linked to lack of self-control and long lasting fear which can trigger anxiety. Cortisol is another hormone most commonly linked with anxiety. It is also called the stress hormone, and it is the hormone which puts the body in guarding state, which is beneficial of course when there is an actual threat. However, in anxiety the production of this hormone is linked to a mental state, rather than to an endangering environment, resulting in a prolonged state of alertness, which is one of the symptoms of anxiety. Other common symptoms of anxiety including fast heartbeat, high blood pressure, profuse sweating, can be linked with excess of the thyroid hormone.
This is perhaps the most common trigger of anxiety in men. The industry puts high performance expectations upon men and the society rates men especially based on their job performance. Managing job stress can be difficult, especially since men see stress as part of their job description. Demanding bosses, over-time work, phones ringing, ever-changing procedures are some of the factors which contribute to the stress and anxiety you accumulate at work. Developing good and healthy coping techniques are the key to keeping the stress under control at your work place, and not letting anxiety get in your way at work.
We live in a society which breeds anxiety, depression and psychological dysfunction. Men are supposed to be strong and fearless, and not allowed to show signs of weakness, fear and worry. These unrealistic expectations which are imposed by the society for decades, and only contribute to developing anxiety in men.
Relationship expectations are also one the things which society determines. Men are supposed to be open to platonic relationships, more reserved in expressing feelings, support polygamy. Failure to fit within these expectations and pretending to be someone you’re not is basically the foundation to anxiety.
In the last century, physical appearance started to play an important role in the way men see themselves, and began to have a significant influence on men’s professional and personal relationships. It is not only women who compare themselves with models and celebrities, but men too, and dissatisfaction with looks affects men the same way it affects women, if not more. As a result, many get anxious and depressed simply because they do not fit into the high expectations society imposes on beauty and handsomeness.
Excessive alcohol consumption is a huge contributor to anxiety. Alcohol interferes with levels of the hormones of happiness, and even short term consumption can make you feel more anxious – this is also known as alcohol induced anxiety. Alcohol-induced anxiety can last for several hours, or even for an entire day after drinking.
Among the other factors which are known to cause anxiety in men are gambling, smoking and other unhealthy lifestyles. On the other hand, exercise, clean eating, abundance of water can help men when dealing with their symptoms of anxiety.
Anxiety Symptoms for Men
The symptoms of anxiety in men vary, and include feelings of worry, stress and fear to an extent which interferes with their everyday functioning. Some of the more common symptoms include: Physical signs of anxiety may include: racing heart, excessive sweating, dizziness, shortness of breath, insomnia, panic attacks, feelings of dread, inner tension and nervousness, being overly cautious towards danger, fear of losing control and more.
Depression is also commonly present in men with anxiety, and some of the symptoms such as hopelessness, sadness, and worry can accompany the abovementioned symptoms.
Common Mistakes Made by Men When Dealing with Anxiety
Very often, men fail to admit that they may have a psychological issue and don’t seek for treatment, but rather succumb to their poor coping skills. Men are less likely to seek support from others like women do, and that is one of the many reasons why men make more coping mistakes than women do, making their anxiety symptoms even worse.
Some of the most commonly made mistakes by men when dealing with anxiety are developing unhealthy coping strategies. These include drinking alcohol, gambling, and various reckless behaviors which at first may help with the symptoms of anxiety, but eventually develop a dependency, and thus the brain loses its ability to cope without those drugs and behaviors even more. Being alone, ignoring the anxiety and trying to fight it by thinking it through are also amongst the mistakes made most frequently by men.
The first step towards dealing with anxiety is recognizing it and admitting to yourself that you need to overcome it. Once you’ve accepted that anxiety is something you deal with and it is something you are going to treat, the next step is to commit to a treatment that works.
There are various treatment options available, from medications to alternative therapy, and you should find the one which suits you the best. The pharmacological therapy is usually used to treat the symptoms of anxiety. In most cases, the first medication introduced in therapy is a type of antidepressant called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). This type of medication works by increasing the level of serotonin in your brain.
Another option is psychological therapy. There are various approaches which are practiced in this type of therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and applied relaxation therapy. Even though each case of anxiety is distinctive in its treatment, psychological therapy is usually offered before you are subscribed medication by your doctor.