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Getting to Know Anxiety in Men

 

Getting to Know Anxiety in Men

 

Starting and raising a family is not an easy task. Although modern society supports women’s new roles as a working class, it is still the typical for the father or husband to be the major provider of the family. Men still carry the weight of “breadwinner” on their shoulders. It is not out of the ordinary for most men to prioritize this responsibility.

In general, men consider acquiring and maintaining a job as a prime goal in life. Other responsibilities such as household work, hands-on parenting and attending family gatherings usually take a back seat. This is most evident when there is conflict between work and home schedules.  It is out of the ordinary for husbands and dads to take charge of parent-teacher meetings, grocery shopping or shopping for the children’s needs.

With that said, anything that may threaten their job or source of income is like being “fired,” and overwhelming work conditions or missing out on job opportunities can take a toll on their self-confidence. Combine these worries with other issues that arise throughout life and you have the perfect brew for the development of anxiety in men.

 

Under the Masculinity

Men are not usually the first thought when anxiety is mentioned. Most people will agree that this emotional condition is more prevalent among women with two out of five women experiencing anxiety compared to one out of five for men. Through the biological looking glass, experts argue that men have the advantage of avoiding anxiety because they have higher levels of testosterone.

Dr. Mohamed Kabbai from Biomedical Sciences and Neurosciences at Florida State University states that, “this hormone enhances the function of the neurotransmitters/brain chemicals. It reduces the activity in the brain area that regulates the “fight or fight” response system. It also modulates the release of the stress hormone.”

Although nature has given men an advantage in their bodies to avoid anxiety, the nurture aspect of life still has something to say. Men are still prone to experiencing anxiety in this “dog eat dog world.” Societal norms dictate that men must be dominant and strong with high self-esteem. They are expected to be able to face anything without asking help from anyone. Expectations like this can cause men to bottle up their emotions and deny, even to themselves, that they need help. Most men try to resolve things on their own, preferring to stay mum and not talk about their emotions as this is generally perceived as a form of weakness.

 

The Major Factors

Although most people will state that they agree with the statements above based on their personal experience, science does not really have a concrete explanation as to what specific path leads men to develop anxiety. One main reason is that each path is unique to each man. While some recount a single anxiety-ridden experience, others may experience the emotion regularly or more frequently.

Among the common factors that may lead to anxiety in men include issues in employment or business, health, marriage or their relationship with a significant other, loneliness and abuse of substances. Vulnerability to anxiety can also peak in certain periods of a man’s life. These are during puberty, beginning of fatherhood, the end of romantic relationships, retirement, and during transitional periods. Being in between jobs or a toxic work environment are both major factors that can thrust men in the forefront of anxiety. 

 

The Symptoms to Watch Out For

The kinds of anxiety in men are many and varied, lengthening the list of symptoms even more. A layman usually associates anxiety with having butterflies in your stomach or having cold and clammy hands. The feeling of worry and being nervous are natural. Panicking to some extent is also natural for anxious men. When the reactions to fear and certain situations become extreme and unexplainable to the point where activities of daily living are affected, special attention must be given to it.

Anxiety in men is described as an emotional disorder that messes with an individual’s fight or flight response. The manifestations are observed physically and emotionally. Better Health shares some common or typical signs and symptoms.

 

The physical symptoms can be:

  • pounding or racing heart
  • excessive sweating
  • muscle tension
  • restlessness or agitation
  • dizziness and vertigo
  • shortness of breath or choking sensations
  • insomnia
  • panic attacks.

 

Emotional signs of anxiety may include: 

 

  • constant worry about what could go wrong
  • feelings of dismay
  • concentration problems
  • avoidance
  • catastrophic thinking
  • irritability or edginess
  • being overly vigilant toward danger
  • absentmindedness
  • fear of losing control

 

The Effects of Anxiety on Men

How does anxiety affect men? People commonly believe that the “manliness” or masculinity of men comes into question when the symptoms of anxiety begin surfacing. Low self-confidence and the feeling of shame can intensify when anxiety is experienced. Situations, like not being able to perform the responsibilities as a father or husband, is often linked to this emotion in men. Men who have anxiety feel like they are less manly, so they go through denial, avoid talking to a therapist/counselor, and/or seeking treatment.

Shame is an overwhelming feeling that can damage relationships. Deterioration can happen slowly, so you do not immediately notice it until you lose your family or have cut ties with friends and colleagues. Drinking can seem like the solution during times like this. Men feel like alcohol can drown their emotions and keep them numb to maintain manliness. Dr. George Koob, of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, says that “People with anxiety take substances in an effort to self-medicate.”  

Society’s customs leave men being embarrassed to talk about their feelings. Due to the delay of seeking treatment, their bottled-up emotions may just suddenly burst and become a severe case of anxiety. Compared to women who are more self-aware of their emotions and are more open to talk about them, men tend to keep their emotions under a tight lid.

 

Take Pride in Seeking Treatment

Feeling extremely anxious is not something to be embarrassed about. Rather than be awed by its implications regarding your masculinity, it is essential to be aware of this emotional condition and to act on it. Denial will always be an obstacle in winning the battle that you have to overcome. Instead, it is more productive to seek treatment from a skilled counselor/therapist independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services – Cameron, NC to ease the symptoms that are affecting your functioning.

It pays to believe in yourself, but it is better to complement this with the help of a professional that understands anxiety in men and how you can keep it at bay. Let go of the idea that anxiety can easily be curtailed by sweeping it under the rug or just living with it to survive. Like any condition, anxiety must be properly diagnosed by a professional. An early treatment plan can do wonders to improve the outcome. Seeking treatment is, therefore, the best option toward an early recovery.

The stigma surrounding anxiety has decreased throughout the years. Proper research, assessment and resolution has resulted in much more success in its treatment. The most minimally invasive option is therapy, with 60 to 70 percent of cases being successfully treated through therapy. With the increased success rates and wide availability of options, anxiety need not cripple you any longer. Say goodbye to illogical fears and live the life you want. Talk to a professional through Carolina Counseling Services – Cameron, NC. Call today!

Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services – Cameron, NC

Counties: Harnett County

Areas: Cameron NC, Linden Oaks NC, Sprout Springs NC, Anderson Creek NC, Olivia NC, Pineview NC, Johnsonville NC, Spring Lake NC

Zip Codes: 28326, 28327, 27332, 28394

Rose Thomas, MA, LPC, LCAS, NCC

Specializes in: (Ages 5+) Children, Teens, Individuals, Couples and Families. Anxiety, Depression, ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder, ADHD, Relationship Issues, Marriage Counseling, Parenting, PTSD/Trauma Recovery, Acute Stress Disorder, Adult Sexual Abuse Survivors, Adjustment Disorders, Depressive Disorders, Persistent Depressive Disorder, Bipolar and Related Disorders, Self-injurious/Self-Harm, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Separation Anxiety, Disruptive Disorders, Conduct Disorder, Marital Conflict and Discord, LGBT, Substance Use Disorders
 Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Tricare Prime, Tricare Select, Extra, Retired, Cash, HSA and FSA accepted (credit cards accepted)
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Specializes in: (Ages 4+) Children, Individuals, families, PTSD, Trauma, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Adjustment Disorder, ADHD, Depression, Anxiety, communication skills, and Parenting Skills, Aggression, Behavior Management, Life transitions, Family Conflict, Difficulty Coping, Relationship Problems, Depression, Anxiety

InsuranceBCBSTricare, Cash, HSA and FSA accepted and Apple Pay
 
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Shirlisa Daniels, MS, LPC, NCC

Specializes in: (Ages 4+) Children, Teens, Adults and Individuals, Families, Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Panic Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, ODD, PTSD, Relationship Issues, Conflict Resolution and Life Transitions
Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Cash (credit cards accepted)
 Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

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