What about anxiety? It's important!
Do you feel anxious? If so, you’re not alone.
Anxiety is the most common psychological problem in modern life. Psychiatry tells us that nearly a third of adults experience anxiety disorders at some point in their lives.
Anxiety is usually understood to be that ‘nervous’, fearful awareness that you have when you’re stressed — especially if you’re worrying or feeling apprehensive about the future. You feel anxious.
You might also experience anxiety whenever you’re very focused or intensely aware — for example, if you’re paying close attention to something, or you’re trying to learn or prepare something.
And anxiety can be attached to a particular fear — sometimes called a ‘phobia’. A common phobia is a fear of certain situations such as open spaces or situations that feel confining (agoraphobia) or a fear of social interaction (social phobia).
But anxiety can also happen for no particular reason. We can just feel anxious. In this way, anxiety becomes ‘chronic’. As one lady told me, “I can wake up feeling anxious.” Another says, "It comes and goes, sometimes there's a reason, sometimes not."
And anxiety can come unexpectedly, in sudden overwhelming waves — what’s called a ‘panic attack’. Surprisingly, panic attacks often have no apparent cause. They can seem to just happen.
Anxiety is more commonly a complaint of women — but psychologists sometimes wonder if a man’s violence or addiction is evidence of his underlying anxiety.
Chronic anxiety often continues into later life, but an older woman may not recognize her anxiety because she’s so used to the feeling. As one lady told me, “I didn’t realize how anxious I was — until I learned how to feel relaxed!”.
What do Women 50+ need to know about anxiety?
Research shows that chronic anxiety increases a woman’s risk of dementia. Different studies show that anxious women are more likely to develop cognitive decline and dementia.
In our next email, we'll look more closely at the link between dementia and anxiety. It’s important!
But, don’t worry, we have solutions too! We’ll be getting to that...