Owning up to anxiety tougher for young adults

Research from Mind, the mental health charity, has found that four in five 18 to 34 year olds put on a brave face when they are anxious. Despite this one in five admitted to crying in the past week because of anxiety. The Mind poll also revealed that a quarter of this age group feels that showing their emotions is a sign of weakness.

 

This attitude towards emotion and anxiety contrasts with that of older adults, with only one in ten people over the age of 55 believing that showing emotion is a sign of weakness. In fact, older adults appear generally more resilient, with two fifths of people over 55 saying it has been longer than a year since they cried because of anxiety, or that they have never cried due to anxiety.

 

As a counsellor in the Hastings area of East Sussex Counsellors, anxiety is one of the most common mental health problem which I see in clients. Mind says crying is actually both a common and useful response to dealing with it.

 

Gender also played a big role in responses to anxiety. Women are three times more likely than men to have cried because of anxiety in the last week, but they were also twice as likely to feel better for having cried.  Women were also twice as likely to hide in the toilets at work if they felt anxious and half of women said they would eat more if they felt anxious compared to two fifths of men.

 

Perhaps most worryingly, only half of people polled agreed that anxiety could be a mental health problem. In fact, nearly one in twenty people currently experiences anxiety on its own and one in ten has mixed anxiety and depression. Anxiety has now become level with depression as the most common reason for calls to Mind’s helpline.

 

If the symptoms of anxiety – such as feeling tense and restless, breathing rapidly and getting light headed, or having persistent negative thoughts – aren’t addressed and become severe, they can have a serious impact on day to day life. Problems sleeping, lowered immune system and depression can all develop as a knock-on effect and can get to the point that it becomes difficult to hold down a job, maintain relationships or take pleasure in life.

Mind is urging people to respond to symptoms of anxiety in themselves or those around them by texting ‘ANXIETY’ to 70660 to receive a free copy of ‘Your guide to stress and anxiety’ or visit mind.org.uk/getyourguide.

 

added at 12:12am on 9th December 2015

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