How do I know if a man in my life is suffering from anxiety and how can I help?
Or how can I tell if I’ve got anxiety and is there anything I can do about it? Anxiety is one of the most common health conditions in Australia, in fact one in 5 men will suffer from anxiety at some point in their life, so it’s by no means out of the realms of possibility. If you’ve found your way here, chances are that you’ve noticed some behaviour in yourself, your mate or your loved one that just doesn’t seem quite right. But anxiety can be harder to pinpoint in males than females and it often manifests itself in physical symptoms that are not always obvious and can be easily confused with other physical and mental conditions, like depression.
If you or the man in your life have started suffering from mundane physical symptoms like headaches, muscle aches, fatigue, insomnia or even gut problems, it might be a sign that something is going on mentally, rather than physically. Men will often describe a feeling of being out of control and the symptoms of panic attacks like chest pain, dizziness and shortness of breath can be a frightening experience. Anxiety might be the root cause, especially if you’ve been to a General Practitioner and these problems haven’t resolved. If you’ve noticed a change in behaviour, such as short temper, irritability or impatience, withdrawal for social activities, poor performance at work or a lack of interest in hobbies or other activities that used to be enjoyable, it might also be a sign that anxiety may be starting to have a serious impact.
There are risk factors that predispose men to anxiety and they include:
If you still aren’t sure whether anxiety may be playing a part in your life or someone that you care about, Beyond Blue has a fantastic range of resources. You’ll find a quiz which will help to give a better insight into what might be going on, as well as information specifically to support men who may have anxiety and/or depression or who may just be going through a rough time. Also check out the Better Health Channel from the Victorian Government.
It’s important to realize that every one of us will face significant mental and physical challenges in our lives, it’s part of being human and its part of being a man in the 21st century. But needless suffering in silence is not a normal part of being a man. We aren’t talking about assigning labels or shouting it from the rooftop but we do need to talk about it, whether that is with a professional or just starting off with a trusted friend or family member.
If you think you or your loved one may not be at that stage yet, there are plenty of confidential tools that can be used to give a boost and get started. As well as Beyond Blue, Mood Gym is another free Australian based program that can be done any time of day or night to help combat some of the negative thoughts and feelings that can start to infiltrate everyday life. There are also some really simple techniques that a professional like Shannon can help you with and I’d encourage you to have a look at his Anxiety Guide here.
If you are worried about yourself or someone else, it’s important that you do something about it. Take a small step or a big step, it doesn’t matter which, just get started. It’s not something that is going to go away on it’s own.