Anxiety Looks Different in Men by Andrea Petersen
Instead of coming across as nervousness or worry, anxiety in men often appears as anger, muscle aches or alcohol use—leading many men to go undiagnosed
When a man explodes in anger over something seemingly insignificant, he may appear like just a jerk. But he could be anxious.
Anxiety problems can look different in men. When people think of anxiety, they may picture the excessive worry and avoidance of frightening situations that often plague those who suffer. These afflict men, too.
But there’s a growing recognition among psychologists that men are more likely to complain of headaches, difficulty sleeping and muscle aches and pains.
They are more likely to use alcohol and drugs to cope with anxiety, so what looks like a drinking problem may actually be an underlying anxiety disorder. And anxiety in men often manifests as anger and irritability.
…Studies have found that about one in five men (and about one in three women) will have an anxiety disorder during their lifetime. But psychologists are increasingly concerned that those numbers underreport male cases.
This is particularly worrisome now that more research is finding a link between anxiety and suicide.Depression is the mental illness most strongly associated with suicidal thoughts, but it doesn’t often lead to suicidal acts, according to a 2010 studyby researchers at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School.
Instead it is anxiety disorders, along with substance abuse and conduct disorder, that are most strongly associated with suicide attempts; the link between anxiety and suicide has been echoed in more recent studies as well.
Men are more than three times more likely to die by suicide than women, andsuicide rates are on the rise in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
…In general, men are less likely to receive treatment for mental health issues. “We’ve been socialized from a very young age to see emotional vulnerability as a weakness,” says Michael Addis, a professor of psychology and director of the Men’s Well-Being Research Group at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. “Seeking help is seen as a sign of weakness as well,” for some men.
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