Recognizing Anxiety Disorders in Women

March 3, 2022

Anxiety disorders affect nearly 264 million individuals worldwide. Of these individuals, women are twice as likely as men to experience symptoms of anxiety.

Anxiety disorders are serious medical conditions that can be as detrimental to an individual’s health as physical disorders. Anxiety disorders may include panic attacks, extreme fear, agoraphobia or social anxiety.

Gender can be a huge mental health determinant. Women are further predisposed to mental health disorders because of socioeconomic status, gender-based violence, discrimination, abuse, and stressful gender roles.

Anxiety has a very broad range of symptoms that may be hard to distinguish because of similarities to physical disorders:

  • Feeling irritable or nervous
  • Increased heart rate
  • Difficulty sleeping and concentrating
  • Exhaustion and tiredness
  • Hyperventilation, sweating, or trembling
  • Feeling a constant sense of panic and fear

Though common in an anxiety diagnosis, these symptoms could also result from other medical conditions. Substance use, side effects of medication, or heart issues may simulate the effects of anxiety. Upon experiencing any anxiety-related indicators, a visit to your primary care doctor is highly recommended to differentiate between anxiety and physical ailments.

Women may be hesitant to ask for help for fear of stigmatization and not being taken seriously, or simply not having the time. Providing care to others often takes precedence over a woman’s personal health, and can cause mental health issues to go untreated and unnoticed.

Additional stressors caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have taken a toll on all individuals, but women have been significantly impacted. Factors such as income, occupation and caretaker roles are difficult to manage simultaneously, even without the influence of a pandemic.

You can play your part in helping care for the women, mothers, aunts, sisters, and grandmothers who are close to you. If you, or another woman you know, may be experiencing these symptoms, please call Prairie View at 800-992-6292. A 24-hour mental health crisis line is also available at 800-362-0180.