Organizing Theory & Artistry

Guest Blogger Ryan Rivera: When Anxiety Attacks: A Look at Anxiety in Women


*One of the public service purposes of this blog is to promote understanding of proper mental health. Incidents like the Newtown shootings made us realize that we have a responsibility to be educated about mental health, to make sure professional help is accessible to us and to help others get it. Guest blogger Ryan Rivera writes today about an issue I see frequently discussed in women’s blogs: anxiety.

Anxiety has become a buzzword among conversations. It has become synonymous with stress and the feeling you want to explode because things are not working. The Anxiety Disorders Association of America indicates that women are more vulnerable to anxiety. There are a lot of women who have been battling anxiety for years now. Experts agree that anxiety cases are becoming more common and that untreated anxiety can get worse over time.

Is anxiety on a roll?
What is anxiety all about? Why so many women are suffering from it? Anxiety is normal and part of every human’s reservoir of emotions. It helps people recognize problems and a need to solve it. Anxiety, in its positive form, can help you focus and perform at peak levels. In some case, however, it can be debilitating. It becomes a health threat when it lasts longer than it should or begins to muddle a person’s life. Stress and anxiety are perfect bedfellows that can wreak havoc to almost all aspects of life.

How prevalent is it?
A 2005 study reveals that generalized anxiety disorder is more prevalent in women. Anxiety is more likely to affect individuals who belong to middle socio-economic status. In most cases, anxiety sufferers are those who have been separated, divorced or widowed. Research suggests that anxiety has links with genetics. It becomes apparent when a person is under stress. If left untreated, anxiety symptoms may become serious.

What are the symptoms?
The symptoms most often develop around the age of 22 but it is not clearly understood why. Anxiety suffers often seen to avoid common activities such as shopping or even driving. Often, they may be either unable to sleep or sweating profusely. And, because the symptoms of anxiety often resemble symptoms of other diseases, some people are being misdiagnosed. They find themselves undergoing treatment not aimed at ending anxiety and its root cause. Anxiety is generally detected around 9 to 12 years from the onset of the symptoms. Worse, only a handful of sufferers get proper medical attention. Part of the problem is people are afraid to seek professional help because of the social stigma of being labeled as insane.

What causes women to be anxious?
Let’s face it. The world is not as safe as it used to be. Fear has clouded people’s minds. Uncertainties drive people’s anxiety in turn manifests physically. Experts believe a shift in cultural values is a main factor in the rise of anxiety cases. Women are more aware of their feelings and get more emotional. Unhealthy diet and poor nutrition are also factors making the body less able to cope with anxiety.

Experts believe women may be born to worry. Women’s brains seem to be wired to emphasize past experiences when encountering new situations. The female brain is also thought to use different brain circuits to learn from stress than the male brain, which may make women more susceptible to stress-related illnesses.

Where can anxiety sufferers find help?
If you suspect you are suffering from unmanageable anxiety, the first step is to seek the help of the family doctor first. A competent doctor can detect if you need treatment for anxiety or some other disease. Further treatment can be given by a mental health professional once anxiety is properly diagnosed.

What kind of support do anxiety sufferers need?
Support is important against anxiety. Significant others, family and friends should learn more about anxiety. Encourage the sufferer to seek treatment. Never criticize people for relentless worrying and give positive feedback for healthy behavior. Set specific and realistic goals. Never assume you understand what the sufferer is experiencing. Always lend a caring ear to what the sufferer has to tell you.

Most mental health professionals recommend family-based anxiety treatment. The challenge can be daunting. It is important to remember that with treatment, people with anxiety can live fulfilling lives with successful careers.

About the Author:
Ryan Rivera used to suffer from anxiety attacks for seven years. He now dedicates his life to writing articles that will help people with anxiety, stress, panic attacks and depression.