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Anxiety More Common in Women than in Men, Study Shows

Jun 08, 2016 05:42 AM EDT
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Suffering from anxiety? A new study shows that women struggle with anxiety twice as often as men.

The study from the University of Cambridge reviewed previously published studies about the prevalence of anxiety and discovered that women are more prone to anxiety than men.

Also, the study suggests that those who live in North America and Western Europe are more likely to suffer from anxiety disorders than those from other parts of the world.

"Anxiety is important and shouldn't be overlooked," Olivia Remes, lead researcher and member of the public health and primary care at the University of Cambridge's Strangeways Research Laboratory, said in a report published in WebMD.

"Sometimes people think that anxiety is just a part of their personality or that there's nothing they can do about it, but there is," she added.

Of the 1,200 previously published studies about anxiety disorders, the researchers focused on 48 of them.

According to the study, which was published in the journal Brain and Behaviour, the average rate of anxiety across the globe from 1990 to 2010 was about 4 percent. But North America has the highest at 8 percent, and East Asia has the lowest at under 3 percent.

Women, regardless of income, were twice as likely to suffer from anxiety as men by 9 percent. The study also found that 10 percent of men and women below 35 are more likely to have anxiety.

Women are also more likely to suffer from other mental problems, such as depression, according to the research.

According to Remes, the differences in brain chemistry between men and women could be the reason for this.

Pregnant women and those who have recently given birth were likely to develop obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) than other women. Those with chronic health problems like heart disease or multiple sclerosis were also more prone to anxiety.

In the U.S. alone, anxiety disorders are estimated to cost $42 billion a year. In Europe, over 60 million people suffer from anxiety disorders in a year.

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