Women and Anxiety

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RIGHTEOUSNESS IN THE HEART

A CHINESE PROVERB: "If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character. If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home. If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world." Facts

From the time a girl reaches puberty until about the age of 50, she is twice as likely to have an anxiety disorder as a man. Anxiety disorders also occur earlier in women than in men. Women are also more likely to have multiple psychiatric disorders during their lifetime than men. The most common to co-occur with anxiety is depression [1]. Differences in brain chemistry may account for at least part of these differences. The brain system involved in the fight-or-flight response is activated more readily in women and stays activated longer than men, partly as a result of the action of estrogen and progesterone. The neurotransmitter serotonin may also play a role in responsiveness to stress and anxiety. Some evidence suggests that the female brain does not process serotonin as quickly as the male brain. Recent research has found that women are more sensitive to low levels of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), a hormone that organizes stress responses in mammals, making them twice as vulnerable as men to stress-related disorders. It’s not a dirty word. It doesn’t make you weak. And it’s not (exactly) catchy. So why is it so hard to discuss it? Some just want to pray or exorcise it away, push it down until it floods out like a busted septic tank, or just take our frustrations out on anyone and everyone around. Hi. My name is Christelyn D. Karazin, and I suffer from General Anxiety Disorder. There. I said it.

I probably inherited this–after all, most creative people have some “crazy” in them. Whether nature or nurture, I have, for all of my teen and adult life, vacillated from depression to anxiety. In my early twenties, I...
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