Are women the stressed sex?

Every day millions of people struggle with psychological and emotional problems. A new book “The stressed sex: uncovering the truth about men, women and mental illness” sets out to answer a simple, but crucial, question: are rates of psychological disorder different for men and women? To date, this important issue has been largely ignored in debates focused on gender differences.


In this book, Daniel Freeman and Jason Freeman present a groundbreaking combination of epidemiological analysis and evidence-based science to get to the bottom of what's really going on. They provide an in-depth look at what the best and most comprehensive surveys tell us about rates of specific psychological problems, and mental ill-health in general, across a range of countries. Weighing the evidence from epidemiology, genetics, neuroscience, psychiatry, and cognitive, social, and clinical psychology, they conclude--in a finding that is sure to provoke lively debate--that in any given year, women are more vulnerable to suffer mental problems.


The Freemans then explore the social, psychological, and biological factors that could account for this difference between the sexes. And they tackle other far-reaching questions as well. What is mental illness? How prevalent is it in society? How are such conditions best defined and diagnosed? What causes psychological disorders? How do we balance the various contributing factors?


This is a highly charged issue. To say that women are less mentally healthy than men can threaten women's struggle for equality in society. But if women are more vulnerable to psychological problems, it is a major public health finding--one that should inform treatment, guide research, and perhaps spark social change.


On the other hand, it may be that women are more likely than men to recognise that they have a problem and then to seek help. As a qualified therapist offering counselling in Hastings privately and through a local charity , my client base and that of most of  colleagues consists mainly of women.


But whether male or female, there are nine million people a year who have a mental health problem in Britain every year, according to statistics from Mind, the mental health charity. Trained counsellors across the country, have the training and skills to help people from both genders.

added at 12:06am on 30th June 2013

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