Manxiety: Understanding and treating male anxiety

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Anxiety disorders are mental health conditions that can severely impact your daily functioning, making it challenging to get through the day.

Fortunately, anxiety is treatable with specific medications and therapy, including cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness.

Anxiety disorders in men

Although anxiety disorders are prevalent within the global population, anxiety in men tends to go unrecognized and, therefore, untreated due to the profound stigma attached to male mental health.

Anxiety disorder issues in men

Unfortunately, even in today’s ”woke” culture where mental health issues get discussed more openly, men often suppress their feelings and emotions due to societal pressures to appear ”mentally strong”.

Anxiety symptoms in men

Anxiety and depression tend to manifest differently in men and women. Men tend to dismiss or downplay their feelings and emotions, resulting in their anxiety disorders remaining undiagnosed and untreated.

Recognizing the symptoms of anxiety

However, there are ways to recognize anxiety disorder symptoms in the men you care about in your life.

And if you are a male, you must understand how anxiety manifests and what you can do if you suspect you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder.

Signs

Unfortunately, most men typically do not reach out and discuss their thoughts, feelings, and emotions as openly as women.

Mental health conditions

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The above may be because men do not want to appear weak or ”too sensitive”. Therefore, they tend to suppress or bottle up their feelings and fear being ridiculed or judged by others.

The above can lead to mental health issues, including anxiety disorders, substance abuse and depression.

Symptoms

Symptoms of an anxiety disorder in men include:

  • Sleep issues – Typically, men suffering from anxiety disorders may find that they struggle to fall asleep at night or cannot sleep peacefully through the entire night.
  • Trouble concentrating – Another sign of an anxiety disorder in men is an inability to concentrate; you may struggle to retain information or forget things altogether. You might also feel as though your thoughts are foggy and unclear.
  • Using alcohol and drugs regularly – Often, men turn to drugs or alcohol to suppress or numb their unpleasant feelings.
  • Increased anger or irritability – Anger is one of the main symptoms of anxiety in men – you may feel on edge, jumpy and quick-tempered.
  • Another sign of an anxiety disorder in men is constantly feeling unwell with physical health symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, and a pervasive ”sick to the stomach ” feeling.
  • Excessive worrying – involves profound worrying that may interrupt daily functioning and affect your quality of life.
  • Relationship issues – another symptom of anxiety in men is when they experience constant problems in their romantic relationships and may become avoidant of discussing relationship problems entirely.

Additional signs of anxiety in men

A person with anxiety may also experience:

  • A pounding heart
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle tension

What are the different types of anxiety disorders?

Several types of anxiety disorders can affect both men and women.

They include:

  • Phobias
  • Panic disorder
  • Generalised anxiety disorder
  • Separation anxiety
  • Social anxiety disorder

Common mental health conditions that share similar symptoms of anxiety disorders

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Other mental health disorders can share specific features and symptoms as the anxiety disorders mentioned above, including obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

How anxiety disorders affect men in different life stages

Anxiety disorders can affect men at different life stages, including their teenage years and middle – age through to the older stages of life.

You must understand how anxiety disorders unfold at different phases of a man’s life so that you can better support the people you care about and, indeed, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms.

Anxiety disorder symptoms in male teenagers

Typically, anxiety in a person’s teenage years often relates to physical appearance, conflicting feelings around independence, and problems with social acceptance.

Male teenagers may experience physical anxiety symptoms such as headaches and muscle cramps. 

They might also withdraw from social activities and may develop a fear of going to school.

Prevalent signs of anxiety in teenage men include:

  • Excess tiredness or fatigue
  • Muscle cramps or unexplained pain
  • Fearing going to school or avoiding school altogether
  • Migraines or headaches
  • Stomach aches and nausea
  • Puberty-related discomfort such as excess sweating, skin issues, trembling, feeling jumpy, hyperventilating
  • Relationship and social issues include withdrawal, feeling uncomfortable in social situations and other social problems like dependency.

Anxiety disorder symptoms in middle-aged men

Research shows that anxiety usually occurs in middle-aged adults.

There might be various reasons to explain why anxiety disorders are more prevalent in people as they reach middle – age, such as:

  • Physical and chemical changes in the body
  • Financial stress
  • The death of close loved ones
  • Health issues

Common signs of male anxiety in middle-aged men include:

  • Profound feelings of worry – involving financial, work or relationship worries – men suffering from anxiety tend to worry excessively about various issues
  • Social anxiety – typically, men with anxiety may find themselves worrying excessively about being judged or ridiculed by others and may develop a fear of social situations
  • Panic attacks – involve shaking, heart palpitations, rapid breathing, excessive worrying and shortness of breath
  • Panic-related anxiety disorders – are more common in middle-aged adults than in younger individuals

Anxiety disorder symptoms in older men

Unlike the type of anxiety experienced by younger men, older men tend to experience varying symptoms of stress that may be challenging for mental health professionals to diagnose and treat.

Older men with anxiety disorders often experience physical anxiety symptoms such as extreme tiredness and lethargy, a racing heart and weakness in the body.

How older men experience anxiety

Other signs include:

  • A pounding heart
  • Confusion or foggy mind
  • Feeling weak
  • Feeling worried and reluctant about performing daily tasks
  • Restlessness
  • Profound concerns around safety and excessive worrying in general

Risk factors

Studies show that certain risk factors may be responsible for anxiety disorders in men. They include:

  • Physical health issues – for instance, heart problems and other health problems
  • Employment issues
  • Significant changes in living arrangements (for example, because of separation or divorce)
  • Birth of a baby
  • Social isolation
  • Relationship problems
  • Alcohol and drug use
  • Genetics and family history

Mental health statistics

According to mentahealth.org, the suicide rates in the UK are profoundly high, with reports showing that over 6,525 people took their own lives in 2019.

Moreover, men aged 45 – 49 and women aged 50 – 54 have the highest suicide rates in England and Wales.

Canada, Ontario

Research shows that around 11% of men will experience major depression throughout their lives in Canada, Ontario.

The statistics for women in the same demographic were slightly higher, with over 16% of women experiencing depression.

Treatment for anxiety disorders

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Many men benefit from taking specific medication and engaging in therapy for their anxiety disorders.

Self – care

If you feel nervous or anxious about reaching out to a mental health professional, you must know that these feelings are shared.

The above is particularly true if this is your first time speaking to a medical professional about your emotional issues.

However, once you begin talking about your concerns, you will likely feel better and more confident in tackling your issues in a non – judgmental space.

Seeking help

Psychotherapy or counselling is a helpful therapy for those with anxiety or depression.

A mental health professional or counsellor will work with you to identify any emotional challenges you might face and help you better understand and manage the disorder.

Some therapy approaches include:

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT involves speaking to a therapist who will help you identify and manage destructive thoughts and behaviours that may lead to troublesome feelings.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is the most prevalent therapy used to treat anxiety disorders.

Trauma therapy

Trauma therapies can help you identify and manage any destructive thoughts and behaviours that might be causing your anxiety.

Therapies such as EMDR (eye movement desensitization reprocessing) and medical detox programs are helpful for those experiencing substance abuse issues related to their anxiety disorder.

Other therapies

Other treatments used to treat anxiety disorder include exposure therapy, family or group therapy, and mindfulness.

Contact Centres for Health and Healing

We specialize in treating various mental health disorders, including anxiety disorder, mood disorder, depression, substance abuse, and dual – diagnosis at Centres for Health and Healing.

Male anxiety is a common issue, yet it does not get discussed openly enough, which can cause various problems for those in need of support and guidance.

There is no shame in reaching out, and treatment is available.

Anxiety does not have to dominate your thoughts and emotions.

There is a way to manage your feelings and emotions and live a much better quality of life. Contact our specialist team today for more information.

Lisa Davies - Program Director of Vaughan Recovery and Kirby Estate

About Lisa Davies

Lisa is the Program Director at Centres for Health and Healing. She lived for most of her life in the Durham region, before moving to Peel five years ago.

Lisa is a Master Hypnotist and is certified in Hypnotherapy (2008), Self-Hypnosis and in 5-phase Advanced Therapeutic Healing. As a Member of National Guild of Hypnotists, she is also specialized in hypnosis training in pediatrics, pain management, neuro-linguistic and stage programming.

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