Overcome social anxiety, depression, shyness, and panic attacks

Risk Factors for Generalized Anxiety Disorder in Women

Gloria Goodwin's picture
Risk Factors for Generalized Anxiety Disorder in Women

Women who suffer from generalized anxiety disorder don't just suffer from it a few hours of the day; they actually have to deal with it all throughout the day. They think about disasters that might happen, things that might go wrong or problems that could happen. All of this worry causes a lot of anxiety and can affect every aspect of the woman's life. There are risk factors associated with this, which can determine whether or not a woman develops it.

Risk Factor #1: Being a Woman

Unfortunately just being a woman increases the chances of suffering from generalized anxiety disorder. Women are two times as likely to suffer from this as men are, just like they are more likely to suffer from depression. There are a lot of different factors involved in why women are twice as likely to deal with this disorder, which range from being more open about emotions to feeling the need to fulfill other people's needs.

Risk Factor #2: Personality as a Child

Girls who grow up being bullied are generally more likely to have this anxiety disorder as they grow into women. Bullying can make it difficult for a woman to open up and cause her to become extremely shy, which will manifest into anxiety in the future. Most women will also grow up worrying about being teased or bullied, which triggers generalized anxiety as she grows older.

This can first cause anxiety being around other women, but it can also cause problems with dating. All of the worries she has about being bullied will eventually lead her to start worrying about other things and will start to take over her life. This disorder can start as a child, but it will get worse as she grows into a woman.

Risk Factor #3: Genetics

Women who have a family history of generalized anxiety disorder may find that it causes them to have it as an adult. Generally women will develop the same fears or worries as their mother had, but other times they will simply learn it from growing up in a household with them. Girls tend to pay close attention to how to react to certain situations, so if their mother reacts in a worrying or fearful way, then she may do the same when she grows up. So, genetics are important to consider, but so is the environment in which the girl was raised.

Risk Factor #4: Traumatic Situations

Women respond to trauma differently than men do, and generalized anxiety disorder can become the result. For example, many women who grew up being abused end up with this disorder when they grow up because of how they were treated when they were children. This disorder can even occur for women who had a single traumatic experience as a child. Fears for just one thing can manifest themselves and make a female worry more than she should. After some time she will start to worry about other things, which will eventually lead to this disorder.

Risk Factor #5: Social Situations

Women who grew up without a lot of social connections as a child may find it difficult to connect with adults as they grow up. It is also common that women who grow up in very rural areas tend to feel anxiety when they are faced with areas that have larger populations. Even women who are mixed with different races can feel anxiety if they grew up in an area where other kids were predominantly different from them.

Most women will suffer from some sort of anxiety during the course of their life, but generalized anxiety disorder is different. This is where women aren't able to deal with certain situations and they allow their worries to control them all day and all night. This will affect quality of life and can eventually lead a woman down the road of depression, if it remains untreated.

The risk factors above are just a few that doctors will consider when determining treatment. It's important to keep in mind that just because a woman fits in with these risk factors it doesn't mean she will develop this disorder. Some end up not having much anxiety, so there's no true formula that will determine who has it and who doesn't.