Breaking the Silence: Men and Anxiety

Anxiety can be a difficult topic for anyone to discuss, but for men, it can be especially challenging. Men are often taught to be stoic and tough, to keep their emotions hidden and to avoid showing vulnerability. As a result, many men struggle silently with anxiety, feeling alone and isolated in their struggles. I have spoken with hundreds of men in our community, this seems to top their list of serious concerns.

Research has shown that anxiety can manifest differently in men and women. While women are more likely to experience anxiety disorders overall, men may be more likely to experience certain types of anxiety, such as social anxiety or performance anxiety (Goodwin & Gotlib, 2004). Men may also be less likely to seek help for their anxiety, due in part to societal expectations around masculinity and self-reliance (Addis & Mahalik, 2003). Men may be more likely to try to “tough it out” or use alcohol or other substances as a way to cope with their anxiety. Additionally, men may experience physical symptoms of anxiety, such as muscle tension and headaches, more often than women (McLean et al., 2011). Understanding these differences can be helpful in tailoring treatment and support for men who are struggling with anxiety.

Anxiety is a common mental health issue that affects people of all genders, and it’s important to start breaking down the barriers that prevent men from seeking help. Here, I want to explore some of the ways that anxiety can affect men and provide tips and strategies for managing anxiety in a healthy way. If you’re a man struggling with anxiety, know that you’re not alone, and there are steps you can take to start feeling better.

Recognizing the Signs…

Symptoms of anxiety can be different for everyone and may vary in intensity, duration, and frequency. While some people may experience intense and sudden bouts of anxiety, others may feel a persistent sense of worry and fear. For men, in particular, anxiety may present differently than it does in women, and recognizing these differences can be crucial for getting appropriate help. Here are five signs of anxiety in men to look out for:

  1. Physical symptoms: Men experiencing anxiety may experience physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension, and digestive problems.
  2. Avoidance behaviors: Men may avoid situations that trigger their anxiety, such as social gatherings or public speaking events.
  3. Irritability or anger: Men may express their anxiety through irritability or anger, rather than showing signs of fear or worry.
  4. Substance use: Men may turn to alcohol or other substances as a way to cope with their anxiety.
  5. Difficulty sleeping: Men may have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep due to their anxiety, which can lead to fatigue and other issues during the day.

If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, it may be helpful to seek the advice of a mental health professional. They can provide an accurate diagnosis and help develop a treatment plan that addresses the individual’s specific needs.

Getting the help you need…

Getting help for anxiety is important, particularly for men who may be more hesitant to seek help due to stigma or a belief that they should be able to handle their emotions on their own. If you’re experiencing symptoms of anxiety that are interfering with your daily life, it may be helpful to seek the advice of a mental health professional who understands men’s unique experiences with anxiety. They can provide an accurate diagnosis and develop a treatment plan that addresses your specific needs as a man. Here are five ways men can deal with or overcome anxiety:

  1. Talk therapy: Therapy can help men identify and change negative thought patterns and develop coping strategies for managing anxiety.
  2. Medication: Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can be effective for managing symptoms of anxiety. Talk to your doctor or mental health professional about whether medication may be right for you.
  3. Exercise: Regular exercise has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and improve overall mental health. Even just a 30-minute walk or jog can be helpful.
  4. Mindfulness meditation: Mindfulness meditation can help men develop awareness and acceptance of their thoughts and emotions, reducing the impact of anxiety.
  5. Social support: Men may benefit from seeking support from friends, family members, or support groups who understand their experiences with anxiety.

Remember, there’s no shame in seeking help for mental health issues, and it’s important to find the strategies and techniques that work best for you as a man. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional if you’re struggling with anxiety or any other mental health issue.

Final Thoughts…

In conclusion, anxiety is a common mental health issue that affects both men and women. However, men may experience anxiety differently and may be less likely to seek help due to stigma or other cultural factors. This may lead to a lack of proper diagnosis and treatment, which can have negative effects on their overall well-being. By recognizing the signs of anxiety in men and addressing the unique challenges that men face in seeking help, we can effectively manage and overcome anxiety in men.

It’s important to note that seeking help for mental health issues is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength and self-awareness. By seeking appropriate help and support, men can improve their quality of life and prevent negative outcomes associated with untreated anxiety. There are many effective treatments available, including therapy, medication, and mindfulness-based interventions. Additionally, social support and lifestyle modifications, such as regular exercise, healthy eating, and stress-reducing techniques, can also be beneficial for managing anxiety in men.

Moving forward, it’s important to continue researching and raising awareness about men’s mental health issues, including anxiety, to better understand the unique challenges that men face and to develop more effective interventions. By working together, we can create a society that promotes mental health and well-being for all.

And for you men struggling with anxiety, remember that you don’t have to suffer in silence. There are many resources available to help you manage and overcome your anxiety. By taking the first step in seeking help, you can start your journey towards better mental health and a happier, more fulfilling life. Remember, you are not alone in your struggles, and there is hope for a brighter future.



Addis, M. E., & Mahalik, J. R. (2003). Men, masculinity, and the contexts of help seeking. American Psychologist, 58(1), 5–14.

Goodwin, R. D., & Gotlib, I. H. (2004). Gender differences in depression: The role of personality factors. Psychiatry Research, 126(2), 135–142.

McLean, C. P., Asnaani, A., Litz, B. T., & Hofmann, S. G. (2011). Gender differences in anxiety disorders: Prevalence, course of illness, comorbidity and burden of illness. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 45(8), 1027–1035.