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How does Anxiety Show up in Boys?

Research has shown that boys tend to have more severe forms of anxiety disorders, especially attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. It has been erroneously thought that more females suffer from anxiety then males.

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• Young boys who suffer from anxiety tend to be more irritable and temperamental compared to their female counterparts.

• Adolescent males and teenagers with anxiety, manifest opposition to authorities, which can cause problems between them and senior friends or family, as well as teachers at school. Attempts to punish this behavior tend to worsen the anxiety.

• Anxious teenagers often entertain suicidal thoughts. Girls tend to be more affected with these thoughts than boys, but boys are more likely to carry out their threat, and actually make an attempt to kill themselves. This means that an anxious girl will think of committing suicide, but is less likely to go ahead and try it, while an anxious teenage boy will more likely attempt suicide.

• Anxious teenage boys are more likely to turn to alcohol and other substances of abuse in order to relieve their anxiety, as compared to their female counterparts. Thus if a teenage boy starts abusing alcohol, then one possibility is that he is masking an anxiety disorder. fushionworld Of course peer pressure is a major cause of alcohol consumption by teens.

• Some forms of anxiety disorders manifest more clearly in male children and teenagers than in females. For example generalized anxiety disorder, social phobias, and acute panic attacks are more common in males.

Anxiety in Girls

Girls are considered to be more predisposed to developing anxiety, and at a younger age. This however has not been proven scientifically. The fact of the matter is that anxiety occurs equally in male and female teenagers. This misconception arises from the fact that females are more likely to openly talk about their issues, while males hide or indulge in activities that help mask their anxious moments. These are the manifestations of anxiety in girls:

• Anxious girls tend to manifest excessive crying, which seems purposeless and unprovoked. This is the initial sign of anxiety in a young girl.

• Girls are more predisposed to develop obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) compared to their male counterparts, and this can be severe enough to interfere with their relationships with peers.

• Most girls are constantly worried and openly discuss their feelings. This is a fact that makes it easier for them to be put into treatment for anxiety disorder.

• Anxious female girls not only suffer more severe forms of social phobia, but also other phobias including the fear of objects, heights, travel, and animals among other things.

• Withdrawal is more prominent in girls than boys. This may be because girls are more playful, and any slight reduction in their level of activity is noticed easily.

• Somatic symptoms or complaints, such as painful body parts, stomach aches and headaches are seen with anxious girls more than boys. Some pains are severe enough to warrant hospital visits, and even attempts at medical treatment.

• Girls or teenagers suffering from anxiety may manifest other symptoms such as perfectionism and skepticism.

This article comes from the book, “Overcoming Anxiety in Teens and Pre-Teens: A Parent’s Guide,” by Dr. Richard L. Travis. 

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This book is part of a series of books called “Dr. T’s Living Well Series,” by Dr. Richard L. Travis. The series contains books for Parents of teens and pre-teens on ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, Obesity, Anger, Drug and Alcohol Problems, Low Self-Esteem, and Trauma and Loss. There are also books on Addictions in different careers, Sexual Identity, Gay Relationships and Guided Imagery.


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