Why women are way more likely than men to suffer anxiety

(CNN)Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness affecting Americans, costing the United States some $42 billion a year. But who is most likely to experience the excessive worry, fear and isolation that’s often associated with such disorders?

A new paper reveals that, globally, women and young adults are suffering the most.


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The paper, published online this week in the journal Brain and Behavior, suggests that women are almost twice as likely as men to experience anxiety. This gender gap might be a result of differences in brain chemistry and hormonal fluctuations, or how men and women tend to cope with stress differently, said Olivia Remes, lead author of the paper and a doctoral candidate at the University of Cambridge in England.
Additionally, people younger than 35 living in North America and Western Europe are the most likely to be affected by anxiety, according to the paper.


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“One important result is the overlap between anxiety and addiction. This means that treatment providers need to consider a focus on anxiety, and [it] raises the possibility that people may use substances in ways that both increase and help manage their anxiety symptoms,” Somers said.
Meanwhile, about one in 10 adults with cardiovascular disease in Western countries was likely to experience generalized anxiety disorder, and about one in three patients with multiple sclerosis was likely to have an anxiety disorder.


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Nonetheless, Remes said, many people around the world suffer anxiety — and that was surprising.
“Our study helps to clarify and shed light on the following important issue: Anxiety is common not only in people with serious chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease, but it frequently develops in healthy, young people,” Remes said. “Once it develops, it can lead to a host of negative outcomes. Anxiety can develop in anyone regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or race, and it affects populations around the world.”

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/08/health/women-anxiety-disorders/index.html

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