How Stress Affects Men and Women

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Do men and women handle stress differently?

Patricia Farrell, PhD
I think they generally do, and unfortunately men handle it in a way that is counter productive.

Patricia Farrell, PhD (cont.)
We have noticed that more men will begin to drink alcohol excessively and that is probably because they want to be seen as strong and if they go to a doctor for any kind of help with this, it will mean that they are not men, so better to drink and try to drink your troubles away than to try and get some help. Women on the other hand, will say look, if I'm this stressed, I've got to go get some help. We know that more women enter therapy than man. That has always been as long as I can remember and they've been keeping statistics, that women are willing to talk to others and to try to come to terms with how do I cope with this, how can I change this, what am I missing, they will talk about their problems.

Patricia Farrell, PhD (cont.)
Men will talk about the baseball scores. They won't talk about their problems. That's why the statistics are skewed probably that they say that women have more anxiety and depression than men. No, it's because more women show up at the office and get counted and men don't get counted. If we went into bars and started doing some kind of research, I would wonder, before they took their first drink, how would they register on stress measures, on anxiety, depression measures, and I think we would find a rather dramatic shift.

Patricia Farrell, PhD (cont.)
You know, what is stopping them, what is so unmanly about getting help when you need it. If you have hypertension and you are a man, you go and get help. Is that unmanly? No. If you have anxiety and stress that is causing you serious problems and can end up in a heart attack, is that unmanly, or should you go and get some help, just the way you got with your hypertension. Remember, these kinds of illnesses are just as important and can have as catastrophic results as the medical illnesses that you've accepted all these years.