Science

Why do women suffer more disorders than men?

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In the last five years, studies reveal that the number of women suffering from mental health disorders triples (and even quadruples) that of men. Various reasons explain why, among them, attitudes inherited from a society that for centuries relegated mental health to a forgotten plane; and much more for women.

Figures reveal that anxiety, depression, stress, panic attacks and post-traumatic stress are the disorders that most affect women. Being the youngest female population the most likely to develop more worrying conditions, since the figures report more than a thousand cases of depressive episodes in women between 15 and 35 years old and more than 900 suicide attempts among those between 15 and 25 years old.

“Women suffer more mental disorders than men and it is mainly due to two causes: biology and society,” reveals the WHO. The first is related to hormones, but not in the way that discriminatory stereotypes explain it (sensitivity as a woman’s own weakness), but rather as a matter of the ability to express emotions.

Unlike men, women are the ones who suffer the most from the consequences of a macho society and, in addition, are more likely to express how these changes affect them on an emotional level.

“Testosterone (present more in men) plays an important role in emotional regulation and the feeling of well-being. But it also happens that women are much more open to talking about her pain and that is misunderstood due to stereotypes: ‘that she is anxious, that she suffers from nerves,’ reveals the psychologist and specialist in contextual therapy, Mabe Luke.

In addition, it is also important to keep in mind that the social factor is directly related through behavior. “Although this (hormones) is a factor, it would also be a social issue, since men do not feel more open to showing a similar side,” he adds.

The second reason has to do with the structural problems in our current society: women are more exposed to situations of informal employment, economic inequality, social inequality, machismo in the family environment and consequences of violence.

“Throughout life, women are in a much more vulnerable position than men. Statistically, they are the ones who have been most violated and outraged, not only by outsiders, but also by the family”, reveals the specialist.

What can we do?

Faced with this problem, it is vital to promote equality and balance between men and women, so that the disadvantaged sector can have better opportunities for development and growth, both economically and socially.

At a mental level, it is essential to promote personal and collective empowerment. As a prevention tactic: promote training in emotion management, empower women to get out of the role of submission and encourage a change in the role of masculinities to banish machismo, stereotypes and violence, in order to encourage the appreciation and respect for women.

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