Different Genders, Different Reaction to Anxiety

Psychotherapy is an Effective Treatment for Anxiety in Both Genders

In a study looking into the prevalence by gender of different types of common mental illnesses and published in the America Psychological Association’s Journal of Abnormal Psychology, researchers found that women with anxiety disorders are more likely to internalise their emotions, which typically results in, “withdrawal, loneliness and depression”. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to externalise their emotions. This can lead to “aggressive, impulsive, coercive and noncompliant behaviour”. With this study the researchers were able to demonstrate that the difference in the way men and women internalise and externalise their reactions to difficult, anxiety provoking situations can account for gender differences in prevalence rates of many mental disorders.

The research took into account age and ethnicity as well as gender.

Lead author Nicholas R. Eaton, MA, of the University of Minnesota said that women may suffer depression more than men because they “ruminate more frequently than men, focusing repetitively on their negative emotions and problems rather than engaging in more active problem solving”.

Research has also indicated that women report more stressful life events before the onset of a disorder than men do, indicating that environmental stressors may also contribute to women’s internalising of their difficulties.

Exploring triggers that can lead to externalising or internalising behaviour patterns with a professional psychotherapist is an important step in understanding anxiety and preventing the development of more clinically significant depression.

The psychotherapists at The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice on Harley Street in Central London, can help with this exploration and have many years of experience working with anxiety and depression.