Understanding Anxiety

“I feel anxious.” It’s one of the most common expressions a therapist hears. Even though we talk about it more often than we realize, do we truly understand what anxiety entails?

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is an instinctive response to perceived threats, whether they be physical, emotional, or cognitive. It’s a primal survival mechanism. When a threat is detected, our brain instinctively initiates an anxiety response.

Early humans facing immediate danger, such as a threatening tiger, relied on anxiety for quick action to protect themselves. Despite all our advances since then, in evolutionary terms, we’re not all that different from our primitive selves. The human body reacts to fear in much the same way now as it did then. Whether it’s a predatory animal or a stressful email from a boss, the response is similar. Essentially, the metaphorical ‘tiger’ now resides in our minds.

Causes of Anxiety

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Hormone cycles are known to contribute to the greater prevalence and longer duration of anxiety disorders in women. Female hormone fluctuations that characterize the female reproductive cycle may enhance vulnerability factors for anxiety disorder development; and may facilitate anxiety symptoms following anxiety disorder development (Li & Graham, 2017) .

Childhood trauma, as well as separation anxiety early in life, can also increase the risk of anxiety disorders later in life.

Several studies have proven that one of the most important psychosocial risk factors for mental disorders in women is gender based violence (Oram & Howard, 2016). Results clearly demonstrate that women experience different forms of gender-based violence much more often than men (domestic violence, gender harassment, workplace discrimination, inequalities), and that this is associated with higher rates of posttraumatic stress, anxiety, and depression (Riecher-Rössler, 2017).

Anxiety's Impact on Women

According to the American Psychiatric Association (2013), at present the most prevalent health disorders are anxiety disorders, and the lifetime prevalence of anxiety disorders in women is approximately 40%, twice that in men (Gregory, et. al, 2020).

In multiple studies over the world, women have outnumbered men in prevalence of anxiety, trauma-related and stress-related disorders, along with increased symptom severity, comorbidity, and burden of illness.


Women are twice as likely to be affected by Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) as men


In the U.S., 30.8% of women have anxiety disorders.


In 2022/23, 37.1% of women reported high levels of anxiety, up from 21.8% between 2012 and 2015.

Don't let anxiety hold you back

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Group programs depend on a minimum number of participants to run effectively and are designed for the purpose of completing the program in its entirety. If group members drop out before the end of the program, it may have an impact on other group members. For this reason, fees for the entire 4-week group are due in full at the time of registration.

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