Biological factors may influence differences in psychological well-being between men and women. For instance, females have higher levels of oxytocin than males. Oxytocin is a potent hormone that acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain and plays a crucial role during childbirth (Helgeson, 2017). Consequently, oxytocin may increase and decrease risk factors for depression among women (Helgeson, 2017).
Gender norms, social, and cultural factors also influence differences in psychological well-being between men and women. For example, Helgeson (2017) suggests women may be more depressed than men because women experience more stressful life events and unmitigated communion. Too much care and reliance on others can leave women feeling vulnerable and unhinged. Additionally, men are less likely than women to seek help when it comes to feelings of depression and anxiety. Many men believe seeking help for vulnerabilities unrelated to physical strength may make them look weak, less macho, or passive.
Biopsychosocial factors may contribute to panic disorders among adults. Panic disorder is characterized by unexpected and spontaneous panic attacks at least once a month (Berko & Feier, 2018). Panic attack symptoms may include but are not limited to chest pain, sweating, trembling, nausea, or fear of dying (Berko & Feier, 2018). Age, family history, life events, and genetics all play a role in the risk of developing panic disorder. Females are twice as likely as males to suffer from panic disorder, and the sex difference emerges during adolescence and early adulthood (Helgeson, 2017). Clinicians are aware of this sex difference, and as a result, are more likely to activate depression-related schemas to women than men (Helgeson, 2017).
Treatment of panic disorder may include hospitalization, especially if the patient is suicidal. Other treatment methods for panic disorder are consistent visits with a psychiatrist or cognitive behavior therapy combined with antidepressants (Mayo Clinic, n.d.). Benzodiazepines, which are central nervous system depressants, may be used to treat patients with panic disorder, as well. However, Mayo Clinic (n.d.) states benzodiazepines are generally used for short periods of time as they can be habit-forming and interact dangerously with other drugs.
While patients with panic disorder benefit from professional treatment, a few self-care methods such as joining a support group, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, getting physically active, and getting enough sleep may help manage symptoms, too. Taken together, proper diagnosis, treatment, and skilled therapy may help patients with panic disorder live a better quality of life.
Berko, E. H., & Feier, G. (2018). Panic Disorder: Ensuring Prompt Recognition and Treatment. Clinician Reviews, (3). 24.
Helgeson, V. S. (2017). Psychology of gender (5th ed.). New York, NY: Taylor and Francis.
Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Panic attacks and panic disorder. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/panic-attacks/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20376027
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