Women’s Counseling and Empowerment Issues:
Women and Anxiety
Women struggle with anxiety disorders significantly more often than men. Anxiety disorders are treatable, yet many women may not realize that they are struggling with anxiety and stress, invalidating their experience as PMS or moodiness.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is an anxiety disorder that often starts in childhood and is more common among women. Constant worrying and associated physiological symptoms of sleeplessness, fatigue, and generalized shakiness are the hallmarks of GAD.
Other anxiety disorders include Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder ( OCD), Panic Disorder, and Phobias. Women are more likely to have Panic Disorder. Intense feelings of fear and associated physiological symptoms that resemble a heart attack often send women to the emergency room rather than to counseling. Women experiencing panic or anxiety attacks often report feeling like they are ‘going crazy’, out of control, or having intense fear of imagined death.
Women and Trauma
With reports that one in four women have experience personal violence in their lives, including physical or sexual assault, it is no wonder that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ( PTSD) is a growing issue in women’s mental health. PTSD symptoms include sleep problems, feeling of detachment, loss of interest or numbness, depression, being easily startled, and fear and anxiety for the future.
Women and Body Image, Weight Issues, and Eating Disorders
All women growing up in a sexist culture internalize the messages that they are primarily valued for their body size and shape. It is no wonder that many women struggle with body image, weight issues, and, in extremes, eating disorders. Therefore, no work on women’s self esteem or body image can succeed without addressing social norms and the construction of femininity.
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Click here for more on anxiety therapy in my Denver, Colorado, mental health practice.
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