July 07, 2023 By Leah Malone

Anxiety Disorders Among Women


Millions of women struggle with the symptoms of anxiety disorders. According to the Office on Women’s Health, “Women are more than twice as likely as men to get an anxiety disorder in their lifetime.” In addition to being difficult to deal with alone, anxiety disorders also increase the severity of the symptoms of substance use disorder (SUD) and other conditions.

Anxiety takes a toll on all aspects of life. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIHM), “Anxiety disorders can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school work, and relationships.” Many women feel overwhelmed or unsure of how to cope with daily anxiety. Emerge Recovery TX uses trauma-informed care and holistic treatment to help women recovering from SUD and co-occurring anxiety disorders.

Common Anxiety Disorders and Their Symptoms

Everyone responds differently to anxiety. Some women have a higher stress threshold and a stronger support system. Other women may have no support system and additional stressors impacting their coping ability. Many factors influence how anxiety disorders form and which symptoms manifest. In addition, many women have more than one anxiety disorder. Symptoms exist along a spectrum, and the severity of symptoms will determine the best treatment option.

Below are some of the most common anxiety disorders and a brief description of the symptoms:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): persistent feelings of anxiety, helplessness, hopelessness, or dread
  • Panic disorder: panic attacks accompanied by sudden and intense feelings of fear or loss of control without any known trigger
  • Social anxiety disorder: an intense fear of being in or around social situations, especially in instances in which a person must perform in a social setting
  • Separation anxiety disorder: fear of being separated from or losing loved ones
  • Specific phobias: strong, irrational fears of particular people, places, things, or ideas

Unfortunately, anxiety and phobias can interfere with substance abuse treatment. That’s why at Emerge Recovery TX, care teams create treatment plans that consider all active and underlying issues to ensure success.

What Causes Anxiety Disorders?

Anxiety disorders can have multiple underlying causes. However, stress is the leading cause of anxiety for most women. According to Focus: The Journal of Lifelong Learning in Psychiatry, “Women may be more likely to experience stressors contributing to anxiety disorders, have coping or cognitive styles more prone to rumination and worry, or have biological predispositions such as anxiety sensitivity and hormonal fluctuations that propagate anxiety disorders.” In addition, “Women exhibit greater anxiety sensitivity than men, defined by catastrophic interpretations of bodily sensations such as heart pounding or dizziness.”

Many factors contribute to the development of anxiety disorders, including:

  • Genetics
  • Family history of mental health issues or substance use disorder (SUD)
  • Environmental issues
  • Trauma
  • Chronic stress
  • Substance abuse
  • Physical illness or severe injury
  • Hormonal changes

Childhood trauma is also a significant underlying factor for many women with anxiety disorders. Women are more likely to experience childhood trauma, abuse, or neglect. When someone has untreated childhood trauma, they may have symptoms that interfere with their recovery. Emerge Recovery TX uses trauma-informed care to help women reprocess trauma in a safe and structured environment. Our treatment team also can help women develop healthy coping skills to overcome anxiety symptoms.

How to Recognize the Signs of an Anxiety Disorder

Symptoms of anxiety vary significantly depending on various factors; however, anxiety looks different for everyone. A few easy-to-recognize signs include the following:

  • Physical symptoms, including nausea, headaches, muscle weakness, and trembling in extremities
  • Shortness of breath
  • Numbness or pins and needles
  • Flushed skin
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Unusual irritation
  • Restlessness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Social isolation

Anxiety drains the mind and body. People often feel exhausted if they experience an anxiety attack or severe anxiety symptoms. In addition, chronic anxiety can lead to health issues like heart disease. Early intervention and treatment is the best way to avoid long-term problems related to chronic anxiety.

Treatment Options for Anxiety Disorders

An intensive outpatient program (IOP) or standard outpatient program (OP) can give people the resources and tools they need to manage anxiety during rehabilitation and long-term recovery.

Some of the most popular treatment options for anxiety disorders include:

  • Prescription medications
  • Psychotherapy and psychiatry
  • Peer support
  • Self-help groups

Emerge Recovery TX uses personalized treatment plans to ensure every woman seeking treatment receives the right level of support. Effective treatment requires collaboration between clinicians and clients. Women need to share their needs and preferences with their treatment team to ensure success in overcoming anxiety.

Treatment Programs for Anxiety at Emerge Recovery TX

Women recovering from substance abuse have a high risk of developing anxiety symptoms. Rehabilitation outpatient programs reduce stress by providing a welcoming environment where women receive high-quality treatment and support.

No one has to continue to struggle with anxiety alone. The continuum of care offered by the experts at Emerge Recovery TX ensures women have access to continued support and essential recovery services until they feel confident in their ability to maintain recovery and mental wellness on their own. Your care team can show you how to find balance, calm, and peace free of substance use.

Women in recovery have a high risk of being diagnosed with co-occurring anxiety disorders. Aside from that, early recovery can be very stressful. During rehabilitation or aftercare, some women may develop anxiety symptoms that require treatment. Many factors determine whether a person will experience anxiety. Evidence-based and alternative holistic therapies are the best way to reduce the risk of severe anxiety symptoms. Emerge Recovery TX uses trauma-informed care to provide a safe and comfortable setting for women to heal from SUD. Your care team will collaborate with you to determine what you need to feel secure and confident in your ability to manage anxiety and other symptoms. To learn more about our programs, call (737) 237-9663.

About Author

Leah Malone

Learning to sit with uncomfortable feelings can be painful and disturbing at times. When Leah was able to see her behavior patterns and decided there was enough pain to be disturbed, she became motivated to make changes and accept the work that needed to be done to heal. She needed direction and had no clue how to heal on her own. Through a connection with God, authentic connection with others, honesty, willingness, and humility, Leah is now in recovery from addiction and trauma.

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