Toxic masculinity can cause anxiety in men, says study - Sovereign Health Group
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03-26-18 Category: Anxiety

Toxic masculinity can cause anxiety in men, says study

The term toxic masculinity refers to more of a cultural construction of being a man, rather than his innate traits. Therefore, criticism of toxic masculinity shouldn’t be viewed as denigration of the male species, instead it should be seen as highlighting the unfair social standards imposed on them. Research has shown that traits like control over women, self-reliance, and the tendency to be sexually promiscuous can trigger negative effects on men’s mental well-being, which may also prevent them from seeking professional help.

According to Y. Joel Wong of Indiana University at Bloomington, who is one of the authors of the study, although sexism is no longer acceptable in the society, several women still suffer sexual harassment in silence. However, Wong said that women are not the only ones who suffer. The pressure to fulfil social expectations makes men equally suffer in silence because they are trapped by the dictates of society. Mental health professionals say men imbibe these behaviors right from their infancy. They are raised to dominate, show less or no emotions, and project a tough exterior to the world. This, in fact, has led to the development of immense anxiety in them as the fear of rejection or not being able to live up to society’s standards takes a heavy toll on them.

The key to prevent toxic masculinity and curb the resulting anxiety is to allow boys to be what they are without enforcing social standards on them, say experts. Besides, encouraging them to be comfortable while expressing their emotions will help reduce the stress. The need of the hour is to encourage healthy male bonding, which will promote the building of social support networks in times of crisis. Given that women are no longer entitled to suffer in silence, men need to hold each other responsible for the unwanted pressure to be extra masculine, which only opens a can of worms for everyone.

Leading an anxiety-free life

If anxiety starts affecting the quality of life, then there is certainly a need for appropriate treatment depending on the duration, severity and type of the condition. An effective method of treating anxiety-related disorders is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which involves three main components:

  • Cognitive restructuring: Individuals struggling with anxiety disorders often tend to catastrophize the situation they are going through and end up viewing things in the possibility of disastrous or apocalyptic events. Cognitive restructuring aims to rectify such irrational thought patterns by introducing the patient to a series of logical steps to eradicate cognitive distortions.
  • Anxiety management: This method helps manage anxiety-producing thoughts by encouraging the patient to refrain from concentrating on anxieties that center around an unknown future beyond one’s control. Relaxation exercises, sensory focusing, and yoga are some commonly practiced anxiety management techniques.
  • Exposure therapy: This therapy aims to eliminate all traces of fear triggered by any specific situation by repeatedly exposing the patient to such situations or environments that cause the anxiety. Problems such as travelling in an aeroplane, fear of crossing a bridge, or spending time in a location associated with a crime or accident can be successfully overcome by exposure therapy.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety disorders affect nearly 40 million people aged 18 and older every year. The ADAA also reports that though the disorder is treatable, only about 37 percent of those suffering from the mental condition receive treatment. If you or your loved one is battling an anxiety disorder or any other mental health problem, get in touch with Sovereign Health of California to avail our evidence-based treatment options by calling our 24/7 helpline or chatting online with a representative. Specialists at our world-class treatment centers for anxiety in California are trained to identify the underlying causes and prescribe customized treatments as well as group psychotherapy based on an individual’s needs.

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