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6/17/2018 0 Comments
Anxiety is more than having sweaty palms and butterflies in your stomach. Symptoms of anxiety can include feelings of worry, fear and impending doom that are so severe they interfere with your ability to work, maintain relationships and get a decent night’s sleep.
Physical signs of anxiety may include:
Emotional signs of anxiety may include:
Men with anxiety feel something many women don’t - shame. Their embarrassment prevents them from reaching out for help. This means that by the time they do get a consult, their condition is more severe than that seen in women. Instead of seeking help, 30% of men with anxiety turn to substances as a way to cope with their symptoms.
Substances co-opt the brain’s natural reward system. Deep inside the brain, the mesolimbic dopamine reward system is activated by pleasurable stimuli including food and sex, producing a rush of feel-good brain chemicals.
The ingestion of substances including alcohol, opioids, marijuana, and nicotine produces identical pleasure effects. When endorphins (the chemicals responsible for the “runner’s high”) are released by natural stimuli or by substances, they bind to the same receptors as morphine, dulling emotional pain and calming the mind. It is this type of relaxation that people with anxiety are seeking when they turn to substances.
Men also often react to anxiety with anger. Everyone has heard of the stress response of fight or flight. Flight is what comes to mind when we think of anxiety: cowering in the corner, hiding in the bathroom, or making a beeline for...anywhere but here. But then there’s fight. When feeling threatened, rather than making a break for it, men may be more likely to come out swinging. Anxiety can trigger the full range of anger, from the flash of an explosive outburst to the slow burn of constant frustration.
Anxiety is an equal opportunity disorder – it affects all ages, ethnicities, social and economic standings.
But what else is equal opportunity? The fact that anxiety is changeable. It is indeed worrisome and stressful to be human, but it is also hopeful. No matter how your anxiety manifests, reach out. No matter your gender, anxiety doesn’t have to run your life.
Contact me to help you through your anxiety - firstname.lastname@example.org or on 084 779 4889. Visit my website on www.nadinetherapy.co.za.
Credit: betterhealth, anxietybc, tonic, beyondblue, guycounselling.