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Facts About Anxiety in Men

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Facts About Anxiety in Men


Providing for a family is never an easy responsibility. If women take the role of a “nurturer” in the family, men are expected to be the breadwinner. While these may sound obsolete in this generation, the pressure to fill the coffers still lie on the shoulders of the “man of the household.”

Therefore, it isn’t surprising that men take this role seriously.

Men, in general, put their job on the top of their list. Other obligations – domestic chores, even parenting and other family activities – are put aside when these come in conflict with the job. Missing school performances, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. is common. You may often miss attending parents’ assemblies or meetings in school, or shopping for the children’s needs.  

Thus, anything that is related or that threatens their job – getting “fired,” overwhelm in the workplace, meeting new expectations after a promotion, etc. – can unduly shake their confidence. Compounded with other life issues, the risk becomes higher, even when they are thought to be “protected” from anxiety.


Beneath the Tough Exterior

Men are less vulnerable to anxiety than women with one man in every five versus two in five for women. It seems like nature has given them a “break” against male anxiety – their reproductive hormone. According to expert Dr. Mohamed Kabbaj, of Biomedical Sciences and Neurosciences at Florida State University, this hormone enhances the function of the neurotransmitters/brain chemicals. It reduces the activity in the area of the brain that regulates the “fight or fight” response system. It also modulates the release of stress hormones.

Despite the protection, there are other factors that may increase their vulnerability to anxiety. Society has led them believe that they are the gender that can take charge of situations, is tough and self-confident. For these reasons, men may decline help or support. The notion results in it being difficult to admit that they are not strong all the time or that they can’t do everything alone, especially face their fears. What can increase their risk is the fact that most men prefer not to talk about or seek help for their emotional issues, thinking it is some sort of weakness.


The Risk Factors

The theories expounded above – biological and socio-cultural – do not entirely answer the question: What triggers anxiety in men? To this day, there is no clear explanation for what can lead one man into the path of anxiety. For one, it is different for each man. For some, it can be a single bad experience. For others, it can be a combination of several unforgettable events that have built up along the way. For some, it may just happen. The condition can affect some men more than others.

What are the risk factors that may increase a man’s vulnerability for anxiety? These include employment or business issues, medical matters, marital or relationship difficulties, solitude, and substance abuse. Adolescence, new fathers, newly divorced/separated, retiring older adults, and those in the midst of a transition are more vulnerable to anxiety. Unemployment and difficulties in the workplace may also trigger this condition. Since it can have a genetic predisposition, anxiety in the family may also increase a man’s risk to it.


The Warning Signs

There are so many types of anxiety and there are also over a hundred possible signs and symptoms. It is more than having “butterflies in your stomach” or having “clammy hands and feet.” Being afraid or worried is natural at times. Panicking when there is a good reason is instinctive. The manifestations of fear or worry must receive prompt attention, though, when these are incessant, intense and unreasonable, so that they interfere with everyday tasks and functioning.

Anxiety as a disorder means that the fight and flight response system is working “overtime.” It has physical and emotional manifestations. According to Better Health, these are:


Physical signs of anxiety may include: 


  • 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 distress
  • concentration problems
  • avoidance
  • catastrophic thinking
  • irritability or edginess
  • being overly vigilant toward danger
  • absentmindedness
  • fear of losing control.


How Anxiety Impacts Men

Anxiety can impact one’s “manliness.” It can be triggered by a feeling of reduced self-worth. It can also cause them to feel shame. Socialized to be dynamic and governing/leading, the man in the house can become anxious when they perceive that they cannot perform their role anymore as a breadwinner and decision maker. If you are struggling with anxiety, you may think you are less of a man or that you have failed as a husband or father. The overwhelming emotions can stop you from reaching out for help or from seeking treatment.

The feeling of shame can affect your relationships and interactions with your family and the other people with whom you constantly interact. This can lead to damaged relationships and pain for you and your loved ones, as well increasing difficulties in the workplace. It is common for men with anxiety to turn to drinking to “drown” their fears and sorrows. This is attested by Dr. George Koob, of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, saying “People with anxiety take substances in an effort to self-medicate.” The feeling of embarrassment may also turn you away from seeking prompt help. This is why many anxious men tend to have more severe cases once they consult, compared to women.


Be Strong by Accepting Help

Having anxiety and admitting it is not a weakness. It is actually a sign of strength. It isn’t easy to admit that you are having difficulties. It isn’t a welcoming thought that you readily embrace. If your challenges are being contributed to by anxiety, however, know that you cannot just “pull yourself together” or simply “snap out of it.” Anxiety is a condition that requires proper diagnosis and treatment. Like depression, attention to the symptoms is critical to recover from it.

Anxiety isn’t as difficult as it was decades ago. Research has refined techniques to treat the symptoms. Therapy, the frontline intervention for anxiety, can potentially treat the symptoms of 60 to 70 percent of cases. More and more men and women are gradually breaking away from the symptoms that paralyzed them for such a long time. Now, you can finally say goodbye to your nonstop, intense and illogical fears and worries to achieve the life you want for yourself. The key is to overcome shame and seek help from a caring counselor/therapist independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office – Fayetteville, NC.

Believe that there can be an end to your anxiety symptoms. Have faith that it isn’t too late to put yourself back on track. Keep the hope that you can still achieve what has eluded you for such a long time. Despite the gripping symptoms of men’s anxiety, welcome the changes in your life with courage and hope. Shame will not bring you any relief and keeping your emotions all bottled up can only exacerbate your symptoms. By reaching out and seeking treatment from a therapist independently contracted with CCS – North Fayetteville Office – Fayetteville, NC you can live the life of fulfillment you have always wanted to have.

Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services – Fayetteville, NC (North)

Counties: Cumberland, Bladen and Sampson Counties, NC

Areas: Fayetteville NC, Ft Bragg NC, Pope Field NC, Sliver City NC, Linden NC, Bunnlevel NC, Erwin NC, Dundarrach NC, Rex NC,and Wade, NC

Zip Codes: 28311, 28395, 28390, 28356

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FayettevilleNC 28311

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  • Becky Clark, MSW, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 18+) Anxiety, Depression, Individuals, Couples, Geriatrics, Criminal Justice, Stress Management, Loss and Grief related to death, disability, divorce, deployment, “empty nest”, retirement and other major life transitions
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