LIFESTYLE

Women More Likely To Suffer Stigma Around Panic Attacks Than Men, Survey Suggests

Almost 20% of women have been told panic attacks are 'not serious'.

05/05/2016 13:30

Having a panic attack is difficult, regardless of your gender.

But new research suggests that women may be more likely to suffer stigma in the aftermath of an attack compared to men.

A survey of more than 3,000 adults has revealed that 14% of women suspect other people don’t believe they suffer from panic attacks, compared to 11% of men.

Women are also more likely to be told panic disorder is not a serious condition.

A total of 17.39% of women surveyed said they have been told their condition is "not serious", compared to 12.79% of men.

Reza Estakhrian via Getty Images

According to the NHS, a panic attack occurs when your body experiences a rush of intense psychological (mental) and physical symptoms.

A person experiencing an attack may experience an overwhelming sense of fear, apprehension and anxiety, as well as physical symptoms such as nausea, sweating, trembling and a sensation that their heart is beating irregularly.

The latest survey, conducted by bcalm, found that woman are slightly more likely to suffer from panic attacks than men, with 59% of females reporting that they’ve suffered panic attacks compared to 44% of males.

It also found that a quarter of women (24%) suffer infrequent panic attacks (fewer than once per year) compared to 16% of men.

However, men are marginally more likely to suffer from panic attacks on a weekly basis. 

The team of researchers also asked participants what they thought could be done in order to help them manage their attacks.

More than a quarter (27%) of panic attack sufferers said they get no support from their employer and one in 10 said their employer could do more to support them.

Worryingly, just 8% said their employers are very supportive about panic attacks.

Dr Michael Sinclair, director of bcalm, believes focusing on work environment can help many panic attack sufferers overcome their condition.

“Almost three in 10 women and one in four men said that improving airflow at their place of work would help with their panic attacks," he said.

"This is consistent with two separate, double blind medical studies in two different countries, done by two different investigators which have demonstrated that carbon dioxide pollution filters do help reduce panic attacks.

“So many offices have windows that don’t open. In such cases, you’ll need a high power, expensive ventilation system to compensate and many businesses can’t afford this.

"Employers should encourage their people to get out and about. Even a short break outside can help. Fresh air is so important for physical and mental health."

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