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Why are Women more Likely to Have Anxiety Disorders?

gold necklace with a charm that says We’ve all heard the saying “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus.”

But when we take a moment to look at the differences between how men and women handle life’s stressors, it does sometimes seem like we are from completely different planets. Research shows many statistics about how women are more likely to struggle with anxiety disorders. In fact, women are actually two times more likely to be affected by an anxiety disorder compared to men.

It is difficult to describe all anxiety disorders in one sentence, but the general definition of anxiety is the brain and body’s irrational, overwhelming and disappropriate response to everyday situations.¹ Currently, in the US over 40 million people — roughly 18% of the population — have an anxiety disorder.

So why are women are so much more likely to have anxiety disorders?

Increased anxiety in women has been linked to multiple sources, but it all seems to come down to brain chemistry and hormones. It seems that female hormones (looking at you, estrogen and progesterone) can send the body into quicker and longer fight or flight responses,⁴ while the male hormone testosterone actually seems to reduce anxiety symptoms. Women’s brains also may not process serotonin (the neurotransmitter linked for well-being and feel good emotions) as well as males.²

And let’s not forget the environmental factors that can contribute to anxiety in women. In today’s world, it’s far too easy to get caught up in the perception of “perfect” on social media. The best-angled selfie, the carefully-selected family photo wardrobe, extravagant outings. It’s always a highlight reel and rarely a glimpse into the reality of our everyday lives.

And for the mothers, we know what it’s like to live with the contradictions of today’s expectations. Sleep practices, pacifiers, nutrition, time management, working vs. staying at home, self-care; it feels like you are getting consistently different advice and it can feel impossible to know what is best. This constant tug-of-war is fuel for the anxiety engine.

Discussions about mental health and anxiety disorders are becoming more common, but even with them being so prevalent, only 37% of people suffering from an anxiety disorder will seek treatment. Anxiety disorders impact everyone’s life differently, but social interactions, work, and relationships can be affected in some way by anxiety.

In recent years we have seen a surge of women searching for natural approaches to assist with their anxiety. There has also been a surge of studies linking chiropractic adjustments and improvements of anxiety in patients while under care. In one study, a 49 year old female suffering from anxiety and panic attacks found that while under chiropractic care her panic attacks steadily decreased in frequency.¹ In another study, a group of 21 people under chiropractic care had reductions in their blood pressure (which increases during fight or flight responses) and anxiety post adjustment.³

As chiropractors, our job is not to cure anxiety or anything else, it is to ensure that the brain and body, aka your nervous system, are communicating without interference. Our goal to help your body better regulate between “fight or flight” and “rest and digest.” And hopefully, as your body regulates better it will have increased the ability to adapt to its environment, allowing optimal responses to stress.

Check out Rachel’s story about the unexpected improvements in her life with the addition of chiropractic care:

“Since starting my care at River Shores Chiropractic I quickly started to see improvements in myself that I didn’t expect. I struggled with high levels of stress and anxiety to the point that it would make me feel physically ill. My sleep was also constantly impacted by my inability to cope with stress. Now I am much better at managing my stress and anxiety levels.”

We recently had a Facebook review that stated:

“This group of ladies is one that is driven by their love for the community they are in.”

That statement epitomizes our feelings towards our Washington County neighbors and we strive to make our beloved community a happier and
healthier place for everyone.

If you are struggling with anxiety and not sure what to do next, we would welcome the opportunity to become a holistic resource in your journey to optimal health!

Sources

  1. EpiEnergetics Foundation. “Resolution of Panic Disorder and Improved Quality of Life in a Patient Receiving Network Spinal Analysis and Somato Respiratory Integration Care: A Case Report.” EpiEnergetics Foundation, 18 Oct. 2016
  2. Facts & Statistics.” Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA
  3. Yates, R G, et al. “Effects of Chiropractic Treatment on Blood Pressure and Anxiety: a Randomized, Controlled Trial.” Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 1988
  4. Your Gender May Be Causing Your Worries.” Premier Health

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