Anxiety Symptoms in Women

If you often find yourself sweating, breathing heavily, or feeling as though something terrible is about to happen for no apparent reason, you are not alone. More than 264 million women worldwide suffer from an anxiety disorder. This condition affects twice as many women as men according to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America.

Why Do Women Experience Anxiety More?

Here are some potential reasons from researchers:

  • Serotonin Processing: Women’s brains may not process serotonin as efficiently, leading to a bigger fight-or-flight instinct.
  • Hormonal Influence: The presence of hormones like estrogen and progesterone may amp up the fear responses.
  • Stress Hormone Sensitivity: Women may be more sensitive to corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), a stress response hormone common across mammals.


women's anxiety support group

Is Anxiety Increasing Among Women?

Short Answer – Yes! 

 Recent studies from the research from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) show that anxiety is increasing among women, especially those aged 30 to 59, with their anxiety rates at 3.4% compared to 1.9% in men. This might be due to biological, social, and psychological reasons.

Another study in The Lancet found that anxiety worldwide went up by 26% after COVID-19 started. The pandemic has hit women particularly hard, increasing stress from job security, caregiving, and isolation.

The overall increase in anxiety among women may also be due to their many roles, like working, caregiving, and managing a household, which have become even more challenging with economic and health worries during the pandemic. Additionally, societal changes and constant digital connectivity can increase anxiety.


Client Example: 

Anna, a 38-year-old professional and mother of three kids, experienced daily overwhelming worries about her children’s health and job security that interfered with her ability to function. She reported symptoms including stomach upsets, muscle tension, and persistent insomnia.


  • CBT: Anna was treated using a combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication. CBT helped her identify and challenge irrational thoughts, while medication provided temporary relief from her acute symptoms.
  • Relaxation: Throughout her therapy, Anna learned various relaxation techniques, including deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation, which she could use during moments of high anxiety.


  • After coming for several months, Anna reported a significant reduction in her anxiety symptoms. Her ability to manage worries improved, leading to better sleep and less discomfort. 

How Do Women’s Anxiety Symptoms Differ From Men’s?

Men and women experience anxiety differently. For men, symptoms often include muscle tension and vertigo. In contrast, women may experience:

  • Stomach cramps and indigestion
  • Tiredness and weakness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • A general sense of dread or impending doom
  • Heightened irritability
  • Sleep problems and insomnia
  • Increased sweating

Types of Anxiety Disorders Affecting Women

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): Involves excessive worry about daily life, leading to stomach issues and sleep disturbances.
  • Panic Disorder: Characterized by intense episodes of terror and feelings of detachment from reality.
  • Phobia Disorder: Triggered by specific situations such as crowds or certain social settings.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Often triggered by severe traumatic events.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Involves repetitive thoughts and behaviors, causing significant distress.

Treatment Options for Women

Treatment typically begins with a combination of medication and counseling. Commonly prescribed medications include:

  • Antihistamines and beta-blockers for mild cases
  • Antidepressants, like SNRIs and SSRIs for generalized anxiety
  • Anticonvulsants for treatment-resistant cases
  • Benzodiazepines for immediate relief from severe panic attacks

However, medications often provide only short-term relief. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic psychotherapy are more effective for long-term management. These therapies help patients develop relaxing behaviors and they sometimes find that they don’t require medication.

Encouraging Self-Management Outside Therapy

Here are some things you can try in your daily life.  This may help make you feel more in control. 

  • Yoga and Pilates are gentle exercises that help you focus on your body and mind, reducing stress and anxiety through controlled movements and breathing.
  • Meditation involves sitting quietly and focusing on your thoughts, sounds, or breath, which helps calm your mind and reduce overthinking.
  • Creating a daily routine gives your day structure and predictability, making you feel more secure and helping to manage anxiety by including relaxation and social activities.
  • Mindfulness practices, like paying attention to your eating or walking, keep you in the present moment and away from worries about the future or past.

Practical Coping Strategy: The 3-3-3 Rule for Anxiety

In addition to professional therapy and medications, there are effective strategies that women can use in their daily lives to manage anxiety symptoms. One such technique is the 3-3-3 rule, a quick and easy method to calm yourself.

How the 3-3-3 Rule Works:

  • Look Around: Take a moment to look around and name three things you can see. For example, a book, a plant, a cup of coffee.
  • Listen Carefully: Then, close your eyes and listen to identify three sounds you can hear in the environment. This might be the hum of a computer, birds chirping outside, or distant traffic.
  • Move Your Body: Finally, move three parts of your body. Wiggle your toes, rotate your shoulders, or tap your fingers.

This easy exercise helps divert your attention from the source of anxiety and brings your focus to the present, making it easier to manage overwhelming emotions. It’s particularly useful for women experiencing symptoms like racing thoughts or irritability, providing relief that can be a bridge to feeling better.

Anxiety Help in the Denver Area

Understanding the unique ways in which anxiety manifests in women and the effective treatments available can empower those affected to seek help. By addressing anxiety with a comprehensive approach that includes therapy, medication, and self-management techniques, women can achieve significant improvements in their mental health and overall quality of life.

Don’t go through anxiety alone. Seek the help of a professional counselor who can make you feel more empowered, fulfilled, and able to take on the challenges of the world.   We invite you to call us at 720-551-4553 for a free 20-minute phone consultation with an anxiety specialist. You can read more about our Anxiety therapy services here.

Self Care Impact Counseling envisions a new age of counseling for adolescents, adults, couples & groups that makes a REAL difference with core values of GROWTH | BALANCE | COMPASSION | INNER HARMONY.