Women and Young Adults at High Risk of Anxiety: Study

   |  Updated: June 06, 2016 13:20 IST

Women and Young Adults at High Risk of Anxiety: Study

We may live in the new age world, but it is not all that pretty a picture to paint. While communications and other facilities maybe better than what our ancestors had access to, in terms of health, we seeming to be heading for the worst. Health experts have said it time and again, and the fact still remains, that our unhealthy lifestyle habits, which we hardly retrospect, are leading to various ailments in the past years, including mental illness.

A new study done by the University of Cambridge states that women, as well as young adults, are twice as likely to experience anxiety as men. Anxiety disorder - the most common mental health problem - is often manifested as excessive worry, fear and a tendency to avoid potentially stressful situations including social gatherings.

"Anxiety disorders can make life extremely difficult for some people and it is important for our health services to understand how common they are and which groups of people are at greatest risk," said led author Olivia Remes at the University of Cambridge.

The findings showed that nearly one in ten adults (10.9 per cent) with heart disease were affected by generalised anxiety disorder but women were almost twice as likely to be affected as men. Also, women affected with heart diseases, cancer and even pregnancy showed a higher level of anxiety than men.


Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) - an anxiety disorder characterised by obsessions and compulsions - was in general, found only one in a hundred, but the proportion with the disorder was double in pregnant women and slightly higher in the period immediately after birth.

"Anxiety disorders can also lead to impairment, disability, and risk of suicide," added Louise Lafortune, research associate at the University of Cambridge.

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Further, the level of anxiety among young individuals - both male and female - under 35 years of age were found to be disproportionate. In addition, people from Western Europe and North America were found more likely to suffer from anxiety than people from other cultures.

"By collecting all these data together, we see that these disorders are common across all groups, but women and young people are disproportionately affected. Also, people who have a chronic health condition are at a particular risk, adding a double burden on their lives," Remes noted.


For the study, published in the journal Brain and Behaviour, the team studied 48 scientific reviews that showed data between 1990 and 2010. The overall proportion of people affected remained largely unchanged, with around four out of every 100 experiencing anxiety.

Inputs from IANS.

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