Why anxiety is often overlooked in men

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Anxiety Bringing You Down? , Here Are 5 Tips to Help, Relieve Stress.While high-functioning anxiety is not a defined illness, it is something that many of us can relate to.Here are some helpful ways to dial back that distress:.1: , Don't Always Try to Be Perfect.Those with high-functioning anxiety are likely to be the same who strive for perfection in all of their endeavors.2:, Motivate Yourself in a Healthy Way.Adults with high-functioning anxiety may often believe that the stress they endure is merely the fuel that feeds their hopes and dreams.A lot of people feel like they need the anxiety to help them achieve and to keep their edge. That can work to a point, but it's not sustainable. , Keith Kaufman, Ph.D., clinical sports psychologist, via 'Today'.3:, Find The Source of Your Anxiety.Experts say getting specific with what's causing your anxiety can be very helpful.Good therapy can go a long way in dealing with anxiety.4: , Focus on the Present.Anxiety tends to be related to the future. .People want to know if they're going to get the promotion or the scholarship. They want to know what's happening next, and so there is this fear baked in. , Keith Kaufman, Ph.D., clinical sports psychologist, via 'Today'.5: , Get Some Quality Sleep.Experts say anxiety is the enemy of sleep.Many people push aside anxiety and anxious thoughts during the day, and then when they try to settle down at night it all comes flooding in and impacts how well you’re sleeping. , Lynn Bufka, Ph.D senior director American Psychological Assoc., via 'Today'

Roles society places on men can inhibit them from seeking help

Anxiety is the most common mental disorder in the United States, affecting more than 40 million adults, according to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America. Yet, the illness is often overlooked in men.

“Men (are) not great help seekers traditionally. About 1 in 10 men suffer from anxiety or depression in some form, and only about half of those come to seek help,” Licensed psychologist Steve Fogleman, Ph.D., told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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Symptoms of anxiety in men

Men are more likely to report physical symptoms such as headaches, body tremors, sensations of losing control and loss of appetite compared to women, according to Medical News Today. Additionally, men are more likely to exhibit anger, frustration, irritability, increase substance abuse and difficulty sleeping, according to Fogleman. Because of these untraditional symptoms, anxiety may be harder to diagnose in men.

“If you look at the (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), one of the big things mentioned is feelings of sadness or tearfulness.” Fogleman said.

“(I)t may be that the man is very angry, irritable and upset. Therefore, it’s an increasingly well-known thing with depression in men that that’s a reason it’s underdiagnosed,” he added. “And I would say it’s very, very similar with anxiety, because those are both mood-based issues … it looks very different in terms of how it shows up behaviorally.”

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Stigma around men’s mental health

The roles society places on men can inhibit them from seeking help and treating their mental illnesses.

“The big part of (men not seeking help for anxiety) is this social construct of the gender role that we have assigned to when boys and girls are very young: that boys don’t cry, they don’t ask for help, they’re strong, they can withstand anything.” said internist Tooba A. Kazmi, M.D., attending physician and director of pulmonary SDU at Yale New Haven Hospital.

Kazmi said people should not perceive anxiety or any other mental illness as a sign of weakness. To tackle that misconception, realize that you are not alone. One in five American adults has had a mental health issue, which means someone in your family or close circle could have.

Fogleman notes the stereotypes in the media often portray therapists asking patients about their feelings. However, when men aren’t accustomed to talking about how they feel, this stereotype may push them away from seeking help.

“We are trained to meet people where they’re at and to make it individually tailored and suited to that person’s interests. So, it’s important there’s so much openness and flexibility into making therapy fit for that person,” Fogleman said.

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How to help men seek care

Broaching the subject to a loved one who may struggle with a mental illness can be difficult. Fogleman recommended you gently point out the changes you notice in their behavior. Avoid labeling them with a mental disorder. Instead, show concern and create a space in which they can feel comfortable to express themselves. Then you can redirect them to seek help.

“There’s a good chance that even if it’s not current, (anxiety) can show up in somebody that we love or know and care about.” Fogleman said. “(Don’t) be afraid of these conversations that so many folks go through and at some point, in your own life, you may go through them yourself. And it will feel really good to open that door and realize that it doesn’t have to stay closed.”

“There are 100 to 200 emotions that we can as human beings experience, but if you ask people, they have two words for emotions, ‘I feel good, and I feel bad,’” Kazmi said. “A part of knowing whether I am anxious — and this is true for men and women — is identifying what really anxiety is. The eye doesn’t see what the mind doesn’t know.”

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