What is anxiety in men? What does anxiety look like in men? what are the symptoms of anxiety in men? How does anxiety affect men’s health? what is different about the symptoms of anxiety in men? How can a man overcome anxiety? If you are looking for answers to these and more questions, this article is for you.
Hi. My name is Sean Galla. I have facilitated support groups for men for more than 11 years, including Anxiety support groups. For most men, anxiety is still an enigma they seek to understand, and it is one of the topics we discuss in the support group.
If you are a man living with anxiety disorder, taking the time to learn and understand anxiety in men is an ideal first step when managing the condition and repairing broken relationships with friends or family members.
In this article, I will cover everything you need to know about anxiety and how it affects men, including how to overcome anxiety as a man.
Table of Contents:
What is anxiety?
While experiencing occasional anxiety is part of everyday life, its occurrence, more often than not, can be a sign of anxiety disorder.
Any mental health professional or healthcare worker will tell you that anxiety is a disorder that can affect men’s mental health, characterized by unfounded fear, anxious feelings, worried thoughts, and increased physical health changes such as increased high blood pressure. Anxiety disorders involve experiencing repeated episodes of worrying feelings, terror, or fear that reach a peak within minutes, often called panic attacks.
People with anxiety disorder experience recurring disturbing concerns and thoughts and avoid different situations out of worry. Physical symptoms include trembling, sweating, rapid heartbeat, and dizziness.
An anxiety disorder can interfere with a person’s quality of life, making it impossible to undertake simple daily tasks. These feelings can be challenging to control, and panic attacks can last long. People living with anxiety often avoid situations and places that trigger these feelings. Symptoms can manifest in childhood or teen years and continue into adulthood if not addressed early.
The most common types of anxiety disorders include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) – this form of anxiety is characterized by worrying about ordinary issues like your health, work, money, and family. These excessive worries can be experienced almost every day for at least six months.
- Panic disorder – Panic disorder is characterized by panic attacks. These are sudden, repeated periods of intense fear when there is no danger. The attacks come on quickly and can last several minutes or more.
- Social anxiety disorder (SAD) – Social anxiety disorder is characterized by intense fear and avoidance that interferes with daily life and relationships. Men with SAD will often avoid social situations to thwart the fear and panic they experience whenever they’re in social settings.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – PTSD is a condition that follows a highly traumatic event in a person’s life, such as a natural disaster, unexpected death, a severe accident, war or combat, extreme violence, or other traumatic events event.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) – this disorder causes recurring overwhelming thoughts, obsessions, and ideas that drive men to compulsions (repeatedly acts) to try to stop the thoughts.
- Phobias – Phobias are intense fear of something that poses little or no actual danger. The fear may be about spiders, going to crowded places, flying, or being in social situations (social anxiety).
A person can have more than one anxiety disorder. Sometimes, it can originate from a medical condition.
Prevalence of anxiety in men
On average, one in five men experience anxiety at some point. However, men are less likely to experience the disorder compared to women. Also, men are less likely to open up about experiencing anxiety symptoms, which means that most cases go unrecognized and untreated.
Seeking help for psychiatry, mental health issues and emotional vulnerability are often associated with weakness in men. An therefore, most men choose to self medicate.
While gender differences easy for women to talk about their issues, including health problems and mental health disorders, with fellow women, men are socialized not to show their feelings and rarely have a safe space to open up about their worries and concerns, even to their loved one.
In the united states, anxiety disorders affect more than 40 million adults and more than 260 million globally. This makes it the most common mental health condition diagnosed. Of the 40 million cases in the United States, 14% are men.
Untreated anxiety in men can often lead to depression, which is a leading cause of suicide amongst men. from all reported suicide cases, more than 50% involve men, with an average of up to 7 male lives lost to suicide every day.
Men need to realize that anxiety is a health condition that affects the mind. It is not a sign of weakness and does not make you any less of a man. There is effective treatment available to manage the symptoms.
Symptoms of anxiety in men
As mentioned earlier, anxiety is having thoughts and feelings of nervousness, characterized by a racing heart, sweating, and worry. For men, signs of anxiety can go beyond these feelings of worry and fear, including physical and emotional symptoms that affect their well-being and overall men’s health.
Physical symptoms of anxiety in men include:
- Excessive sweating
- Experiencing a choking sensation
- Muscle tension
- Panic attack
- A racing heart
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Outbursts of anger
- Feeling dizzy or having vertigo
- Feeling restless
- Shortness of breath
Emotional symptoms of anxiety in men include:
- Over-vigilance about the potential for danger
- Feelings of dread
- Frequent worry that things will go wrong
- Fear of losing control
- Difficulty concentrating
- Catastrophic thinking
Anxiety treatment for men
Most men do not seek treatment for anxiety because they imagine the symptoms are impossible to manage. This cannot be further from the truth since anxiety is treatable. Treatment options can include therapy, lifestyle changes, medication, or a combination for overall wellness.
The type of therapy required depends on the kind of anxiety disorder you are diagnosed with. Generally, talking therapy or psychotherapy, exposure therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are effective therapy methods used to treat male anxiety.
One of the things your doctor will recommend is a lifestyle change. Changing your diet, sleep habits, and physical activity can help fight anxiety symptoms. Some better habits include breathing exercises, meditation for men, yoga, acupuncture, physical fitness, and adopting a healthy diet.
It is possible to treat male anxiety with medication. Before a doctor can prescribe a drug, you must undergo a series of tests, including checking for testosterone levels. This helps to determine whether you qualify for TRT (testosterone replacement therapy), which often helps combat anxiety symptoms in men. If your testosterone levels are normal, you can put on Antidepressants, Benzodiazepines, or Buspirone to combat the symptoms.
As with any other mental health condition, getting the right medication combination for you can take a few tries.
Joining a support group
An anxiety support group is a forum where people dealing with anxiety and anxiety-related disorders meet in a peer-to-peer setup. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), while therapy and medication can reduce anxiety symptoms, being part of a support group is essential to the recovery process.
In the safe space of an anxiety support group, people with anxiety share coping strategies that work, tips for overcoming social anxiety, how to know your triggers, and how to open up to friends and family about the condition.
In a support group, you can be around people who understand you and what it is like to live with anxiety. It is a safe, non-judgmental forum made up of people like you.
Recommended anxiety support groups
The anxiety treatment center
This support center offers an array of support groups for people with anxiety disorders. They have groups for people living with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), where members are trained on ERP techniques through a therapist-led approach.
They also have a social anxiety support group for adults with anxiety related to public speaking, meeting new people, and being in public spaces.
Mensgroup is an online support group specifically for men. If you are a man living with anxiety, being part of a men-only community is one of the best ways to ensure you get personalized help. Mensgroup is a community of men dedicated to supporting each other through life’s challenges and changes.
Being part of a men-only anxiety support group ensures you have a free space to share, vent, and learn in a safe space without fear of judgment or being misunderstood.
Being a man living with anxiety should not mark the end of life as you know it. You can get assistance to reverse the symptoms and live a happy, healthy life. Anxiety support groups are an integral part of any healing process. If you are living with anxiety, you are highly encouraged to join a support group. Many people who have joined anxiety support groups like mensgroup have seen significant improvements in their day-to-day life, thanks to the advice, support, and guidance they get from these groups. In an anxiety support group, you will never have to be alone again.