An article by Madeline R. Vann, MPH caught my eye and I’d like to share some of it with you. Madeline wrote: “Anxiety disorder in men is real and treatable through therapy and medication.”
In her article, New Jersey-based freelance journalist Scott Neumyer, at 35, said he can look back and recognize signs of anxiety from as early as his childhood.
But perhaps because men find anxiety easier to overlook than women do, he didn’t have to face his anxiety head-on until a crescendo event when he was 25. Neumyer was attending a Bruce Springsteen concert with a colleague when his first panic attack drove him into a bathroom. He can catalogue the many times after that first panic attack when anxiety symptoms made social and work relationships difficult, and when he began to fear going out in public.
Someone close to Neumyer had been through anxiety treatment so he knew that seeing a doctor was the first step. He tried anxiety medication and went through several types before settling on Zoloft (Sertraline). But he also knew that medication alone wasn’t going to solve the problem, so he sought out therapy.
“Cognitive behavioral therapy has been the most effective for me,” he says, adding that he also read as many books as he could about living with an anxiety disorder. “Along with the panic and anxiety usually comes some form of agoraphobia, a fear of doing certain things and going certain places.
I personally got to the stage where I hated going to watch my sons swimming because of the seating – all those steps looking down over the pool? The same with the cinema, those dreaded stairs – and in the dark! I also disliked the tube stations in London and the further down I had to go, the more I panicked, so in the end I had to get taxis (if I couldn’t park at whichever venue).
My two (now adult ) sons have experienced anxiety and panic attacks in the past. They’re both black belts in Karate, they’re club swimmers and play football each week. My eldest is a Research fellow, currently working in the States, researching neuromuscular disorders and my the youngest is a Physiotherapist. So, although they both claim to be geeky in a science-type way, they’re not weedy or wussie; nor do they come across as lads who would have panic attacks. Some family and friends have been shocked, like “Wow, I didn’t think he would have mental health problems.” So, really what I’m saying guys is, it doesn’t mean you’re a weak person, anyone can experience anxiety; it doesn’t care where you’re from, what class you belong to or what job you do.
Here are some other anxiety statistics from No Panic in the UK
- Mental health problems are one of the main causes of the overall disease burden worldwide.
- Mental health and behavioural problems (e.g. depression, anxiety and drug use) are reported to be the primary drivers of disability worldwide, causing over 40 million years of disability in 20 to 29-year-olds.
- Major depression is thought to be the second leading cause of disability worldwide and a major contributor to the burden of suicide and ischemic heart disease.
Most common problems
- A UK survey published in 2016 showed that 5.9 in 100 people suffer with a generalised anxiety disorder
- Mixed anxiety & depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain, with 7.8% of people meeting criteria for diagnosis.
- 4-10% of people in England will experience depression in their lifetime.
- Common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety are distributed according to a gradient of economic disadvantage across society. The poorer and more disadvantaged are disproportionately affected by common mental health problems and their adverse consequences.
- Mixed anxiety and depression has been estimated to cause one fifth of days lost from work in Britain.
- One adult in six had a common mental disorder.
- In 2013, there were 8.2 million cases of anxiety in the UK.
- In England women are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders as men.
Men and women
- In England, women are more likely than men to have a common mental health problem and are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders.
- In 2013, 6,233 suicides were recorded in the UK for people aged 15 and older. Of these, 78% were male and 22% were female.
- 10% of mothers and 6% of fathers in the UK have mental health problems at any given time.
- One in five (19.1%) women had CMD symptoms, compared with one in eight men (12.2%)
Madeline quoted “Scientists still aren’t sure whether anxiety disorders are more common in women than men because of biological differences, such as estrogen and other hormones, or because women may express distress differently than men do”, says Mark Pollack, MD, psychiatrist and chairman of the department of psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe, NHS. Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life. For example, you may feel worried and anxious about sitting an exam, or having a medical test or job interview. During times like these, feeling anxious can be perfectly normal. But some people find it hard to control their worries. Their feelings of anxiety are more constant and can often affect their daily lives.
The following information from the NHS is about a specific condition called generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). GAD is a long-term condition that causes you to feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than one specific event. People with GAD feel anxious most days and often struggle to remember the last time they felt relaxed. As soon as one anxious thought is resolved, another may appear about a different issue.
Symptoms of generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
GAD can cause both psychological (mental) and physical symptoms. These vary from person to person, but can include:
- feeling restless or worried
- having trouble concentrating or sleeping
- dizziness or heart palpitations
Although feelings of anxiety at certain times are completely normal, see a GP if anxiety is affecting your daily life or causing you distress. Your GP will ask about your symptoms and your worries, fears and emotions to find out if you could have GAD.
What causes generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)?
The exact cause of GAD is not fully understood, although it’s likely that a combination of several factors plays a role. Research has suggested that these may include:
- overactivity in areas of the brain involved in emotions and behaviour
- an imbalance of the brain chemicals serotonin and noradrenaline, which are involved in the control and regulation of mood
- the genes you inherit from your parents – you’re estimated to be 5 times more likely to develop GAD if you have a close relative with the condition
- having a history of stressful or traumatic experiences, such as domestic violence, child abuse or bullying
- having a painful long-term health condition, such as arthritis
- having a history of drug or alcohol abuse
- But many people develop GAD for no apparent reason.
Who is affected?
- GAD is a common condition, estimated to affect up to 5% of the UK population.
- Slightly more women are affected than men, and the condition is more common in people from the ages of 35 to 59.
How generalised anxiety disorder is treated
GAD can have a significant effect on your daily life, but several different treatments are available that can ease your symptoms. These include:
- psychological therapies – you can get psychological therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) on the NHS; you do not need a referral from a GP and you can refer yourself for psychological therapies service in your area
- medicine – such as a type of antidepressant called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
With treatment, many people are able to control their anxiety levels. But some treatments may need to be continued for a long time and there may be periods when your symptoms worsen.
Self help for generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
There are also many things you can do yourself to help reduce your anxiety, such as:
- going on a self-help course
- exercising regularly
- stopping smoking
- cutting down on the amount of alcohol and caffeine you drink
- trying 1 of the mental health apps and tools in the NHS Apps Library