Brain and Behavior Journal recently published a research paper about anxiety in the adult population which looked at about a thousand other anxiety studies. They defined anxiety disorder as “excess worry, hyperarousal, and fear that is counterproductive and debilitating.” Some of the findings include:
- In America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorder, costing the United States $42 billion a year.
- Less attention research, and funding has been devoted to anxiety compared with depression.
- Four out of every 100 people experience anxiety around the world.
- There is a growing link between anxiety disorder and opioid addiction.
- Untreated anxiety has been associated with significant personal and societal costs such as frequent primary and acute care visits, decreased work productivity, unemployment, and impaired social relationships.
- Globally, women and young adults (under 35) are suffering the most with women almost twice as likely as men to experience anxiety.
- Suggested reasons for the gender gap include pregnancy, differences in brain chemistry and hormonal fluctuations, or how men and women tend to cope with stress differently.
Here are some further reasons why I think women have twice as much anxiety than men:
- More and more women are working outside the home AND managing the home and the kids (constant multi-tasking), whereas men tend to have a much more singular focus on their work.
- Media and social media pressure upon women to live up to unattainable standards of appearance.
- Lack of community and generational family support for young mothers.
- The Paradox of Choice.
- Women have more relationships than men, get more involved in friends’ lives, and feel more empathy with people.
- The increase in single motherhood.
- More married women bearing the burden of being the primary provider for the family.
- The hook-up culture which seems to psychologically impact women more than men. See What the Hook-up Culture Done to Women
- Women admit to anxiety more than men do.
- Perhaps most of all: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children” (Gen. 3:16). There’s something about the whole child-bearing, child-rearing process that multiplies anxiety for women.
Some of the books I recommend for dealing with anxiety are below (use the latter two with discretion). These are followed by links to about sixty online articles I’ve collected over the years on this subject.
Anxious: Choosing Faith in a World of Worry by Amy Simpson.
Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest by Edward T. Welch
God’s Attributes: Rest for Life’s Struggles by Brad Hambrick
Anxiety: Anatomy and Cure by Robert W. Kellemen
Living without Worry by Tim Lane.
Anxious for Nothing: God’s Cure for the Cares of Your Soul by John Macarthur. This book addresses anxiety which has purely spiritual causes and are looking for purely spiritual solutions.
The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Dr. Edmund J. Bourne
When Panic Attacks: The New, Drug-Free Anxiety Therapy That Can Change Your Life by Dr. David D. Burns