Anxiety disorders are more common than expected
Fear is initially a very necessary and completely normal affect. But what happens if we suffer permanently from our fears? Then such so-called anxiety disorders quickly become a serious problem. Researchers have now found that women suffer from anxiety disorders twice as often as men.
People who are constantly suffering from unfounded fears are likely to have an anxiety disorder. Scientists from the prestigious University of Cambridge have now found that women suffer from anxiety disorders much more often than men. The doctors have now published the results of their study in the journal "Brain and Behavior".
People in Europe more prone to anxiety disorder than Asians
A new study on anxiety disorders has now produced some interesting results. Apparently, people in North America and Western Europe are more prone to anxiety disorders than people from other countries around the world. In North America, nearly eight out of 100 people suffer from anxiety disorders. In East Asia, for example, fewer than three out of 100 people, the authors say.
Medications, meditation, yoga and sports can help against pathological fears
Fear is very important to us and should not be suppressed or overlooked, says lead author Olivia Remes from the University of Cambridge's Strangeways Research Laboratory. Some people seem to think that fear is part of their personality and that there is nothing they can do about it, the researcher adds. The so-called anxiety disorders are characterized by excessive worry, fear and avoidance of potentially stressful situations, such as social gatherings. However, there are treatments, including psychological treatments and medications, that can help people strengthen their mental health. This includes, for example, physical activities, meditation and yoga, Remes explains in the study.
Does brain chemistry make a difference in anxiety disorders?
For their investigation, the researchers analyzed the data from more than 1,200 published studies on anxiety. Then they focused on 48 of the studies. The data showed that from 1990 to 2010 the total number of people with anxiety disorders remained about the same, the scientists say. About four out of a hundred people suffer from this form of pathological fear. It was striking that women suffer from anxiety disorders about twice as often as men, the doctors explain. The study also found that about ten percent of men and women under the age of 35 have an anxiety disorder. It is not known why women are more susceptible to this form of fear. There may be gender differences in brain chemistry, lead author Remes suggested.
People with health problems often suffer from anxiety disorders
Women are also more likely to suffer from other mental health problems, such as depression. In addition, it is very likely that men are less likely to seek professional help with mental health problems, the experts say. Why young people develop fears more often is not really known yet, but it may just be that older people can simply suppress and hide their fears better, adds the lead author. It was also striking that people with other health problems are more likely to suffer from anxiety disorders. Around 70 percent of people with anxiety disorders also suffered from physical illnesses, the researchers explain.
People with multiple sclerosis are most affected by anxiety disorders
About 11 percent of people with heart disease in western countries had an anxiety disorder, especially women, says Remes. People with multiple sclerosis are the most affected, with no fewer than 32 percent of those suffering from anxiety disorder. In the United States, anxiety disorders cost an estimated $ 42 billion a year. In the European Union, more than 60 million people also suffer from anxiety disorders, the experts explain.
Talk therapy, medication and lifestyle changes can help those affected
Different cultures deal with fears differently. Above all, there is social fear in western countries. The experts say that people are always worried about being watched by other people. Nevertheless, the people here are extremely confident. In Asian cultures, for example, people are afraid of being offended by their fears of others. Anxiety disorders have not received the necessary attention for a long time. There are effective treatments for anxiety disorders, including talk therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. Such steps could help those affected to deal better with their disease, the scientists say. (As)