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Study Reports Women Deal with More Psychological Disorders Than Men

Update Date: May 23, 2013 03:01 PM EDT

Although psychological disorders and mental illnesses afflict men and women, how they afflict them could differ significantly due to environmental factors and social norms. According to a book called, "The Stressed Sex: Uncovering the Truth about Men, Women, and Mental Health," the authors stated that women tend to experience more psychological disorders than men. Although they do not say that this imbalance between females and males is directly due to sex differences, they believe that the fact that there is a difference between the frequencies of mental disorders in both sexes is important. The researchers believe that in order to understand how different types of mental illness manifest, it is vital to understand how men and women are viewed within society. 

The book, co-authored by Professor Daniel Freeman from the University of Oxford and Jason Freeman, used information from the National Mental Health Survey. They found that women were 20 to 40 percent more likely to report a psychological disorder than men. On top of that, men and women appeared to suffer from very different types of disorders as well. The authors stated that women appeared to deal with environmental factors, such as being underpaid at work or undervalued at home. Due to these factors, women had higher rates of depression, phobias, panic disorder, insomnia, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and eating disorders. Men, on the other hand had higher rates of alcohol and drug abuse, as well as anger and temperament issues.

"Given the extent of the burden on society and individuals alike, understanding what causes mental health problems, and thus being better placed to prevent and treat it, is vitally important," Freemna stated according to Daily Mail. "But our ability to do that is going to be hampered if we assume that gender isn't significant. In fact, it may often be a crucial contributory factor. Men and women are very much from the same planet but they may be breathing air of different qualities. If we ignore the potentially higher rates of psychological problems in women, we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to change the situation for the better."

Even though the book found that women suffered more from psychological disorders, the authors stressed that men who have these disorders can suffer equally as much. Both sexes, regardless of the frequencies of illnesses, need good preventative measures and treatment options.

According to Mind, a mental health charity group reported that in Britain, 300 out of 1,000 people suffer from a mental health problem per year. 230 people will see their general practitioner, 102 will be diagnosed with a mental disorder, 24 will be referred to a specialist, and six will become inpatients at a psychiatric hospital. 

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