Anxiety Symptoms in Men

Symptoms of mental and physical health issues will often look different in men than in women, for a variety of reasons. Anxiety symptoms in men can be somewhat similar to those in women but with some key differences.

Stigma and Emotional Vulnerability

Men tend to view emotional vulnerability as a weakness. Given the stigma that can be associated with a mental health disorder, that adds to their reluctance to share their struggles with others. So, while men may actually have some of the same symptoms of anxiety as women, they will be less likely to talk about what they are feeling. Instead, they will react in a way that may seem, to them, to be a more masculine approach.

Women Twice as Likely to Be Diagnosed

The causes of anxiety are many and varied. They could be worries over work, finances, or relationships. An endless loop of self-doubt can evolve from these feelings of stress and apprehension, which could result in an anxiety disorder. In addition, medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or a decline in hormone levels can result in an anxiety disorder. Low testosterone has been shown to increase anxiety levels as well as contribute to an increase in cortisol, the stress hormone, which can drive anxious feelings.

Anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the US. Of those, 14% are men. One type, social anxiety disorder, affects just over 4% of men and almost 6% of women. Even though those numbers may seem close, women are more likely to report lifetime social fears and internalizing disorders. They are also more likely to seek professional treatment for their anxiety disorder. Men were more likely to have externalizing disorders and use alcohol or drugs to relieve their symptoms.

Anxiety Symptoms

In men, the symptoms of an anxiety disorder often show up as irritability or anger. Physical symptoms can include sweating, a pounding heart, headaches, stomach issues, trouble sleeping, and fatigue. Emotionally, men are more likely to exhibit their feelings of anxiety in ways that seem to them to be more masculine, essentially attempting to not let their mental health issues show externally to others.

A researcher and clinical associate professor at Stanford University, Carmen McLean, PhD, explains, “I think the biggest thing is men are socialized not to show anxiety. Socializing to show agency and self-efficiency dissuades from showing anxiety.” Men will often display rage or anger when they are feeling the symptoms of anxiety. They are also more likely to experience strains in their relationships, because of their excessive worrying.

The stigma of mental health and their own sense of masculinity keeps men from opening up to others and that can cause their emotions to build to a breaking point. Attempting to bury or hide their anxiety can make the situation much worse. The result can be a flood gate of anger and irritability. Women typically have a close circle of friends that they feel they can confide in, where many men do not have that type of support or simply choose not to share their mental health struggles with anyone else.

Anxiety and Addiction

McLean adds that anxiety disorders in men are often accompanied by substance abuse. Research has consistently found links between substance use and mental health disorders in men. For example, a recent Columbia University study determined that men use alcohol and drugs more often than women to relieve their anxiety symptoms. Men will often forego professional treatment, not wanting to open up about their feelings of anxiety, and may instead turn to drugs or alcohol to cope. This behavior is often the doorway to addiction.

Mental Health Treatment for Men at PACE

If you are experiencing anxiety symptoms, it is time to reach out to the professionals at PACE Recovery. Asking for help is a sign of strength and is the first step toward improved mental and physical health. We optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your mental health and any substance use issues you may also have. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

At PACE, we understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

Men’s Health Month 2021

The month of June has been designated as Men’s Health Month. The week of June 14 through June 20 is Men’s Health Week, with Father’s Day occurring on June 19 this year. During Men’s Health Month 2021, it is important to take a look at some critical factors affecting men’s mental and physical health.

Focus of Men’s Health Month

Individuals and organizations involved in Men’s Health Month activities are focused on heightening an awareness of preventable health problems, as well as on encouraging early detection and treatment of mental and physical health issues, for men. Men are encouraged this month, in particular, to seek medical advice and to seek out early treatment for diseases or injuries.

Men’s Health Month itself was created in 1994 by Senator Bob Dole and Congressman Bill Richardson. The proclamation was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton as Men’s Health Week, the week ending in Father’s Day. It was expanded to include the entire month in the late 1990s. The annual awareness month continues to focus on preventable mental and physical health problems experienced by men. Healthcare providers use this time, especially, to encourage self-exams and screenings in men.

International Men’s Health Week came about in 2002 when representatives from six leading men’s health organizations across the globe met at the 2nd World Congress on Men’s Health in Austria. They resolved to work together on the dedicated week to increase awareness of men’s health issues on a global level, including encouraging providers to develop policies and services that meet the specific needs of men and their families.

Men’s Health Facts

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics from 2018 show a number of areas where men have the opportunity to improve their physical health. Their numbers include:

  • 9% – the percent of men aged 18 and over who are in fair or poor health.
  • 5% – the percent of men aged 20 and over with obesity (numbers are from 2015 to 2018).
  • 9% – the percent of men aged 18 and over who had five or more drinks in 1 day at least once in the past year.
  • 3% – the percent of men aged 18 and over who currently smoke cigarettes.
  • 9% – the percent of men aged 20 and over with hypertension (measured high blood pressure and/or taking antihypertensive medication) (numbers are from 2015 to 2018).
  • 6% – the percent of men aged 18 and over who met the 2008 federal physical activity guidelines for aerobic activity through leisure-time aerobic activity.

In addition, the CDC notes that the leading causes of death for men are heart disease, cancer, and accidents or unintentional injuries.

Men and Alcohol Use

The CDC also states that men are more likely than women to drink excessively. The organization points out that this excessive drinking is associated with significant risk to the health and safety of men and that the risks increase with the amount of alcohol. When drinking alcohol or using other substances, men are more likely to take risks that could put their health and their lives in danger, such as having multiple sex partners or taking chances in a car by not wearing a seat belt. CDC statistics on men and alcohol include the facts that:

  • Almost 59% of adult men report drinking alcohol in the past 30 days compared with 47% of adult women.
  • Men are almost two times more likely to binge drink than women. Approximately 22% of men report binge drinking and on average do so 5 times a month, consuming 8 drinks per binge.
  • In 2019, 7% of men had an alcohol use disorder compared with 4% of women.

Men and Mental Health

Mental health is also a topic that needs attention during Men’s Health Month 2021. Mental Health America (MHA) reports that six million men are affected by depression each year. Over three million men experience an anxiety disorder. These mental health disorders often go undiagnosed, though, as men will tend to report their experiences as fatigue, irritability, or a simple loss of interest in their work or relationships. MHA also reports that 90% of the people who are diagnosed with schizophrenia by age 30 are men.

Addiction and Mental Health Support for Men

If you are experiencing mental health or substance use issues, we want to help get you back on track with your life. At PACE Recovery, we optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your addiction to drugs or alcohol and your mental health issues. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

The professionals at PACE understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

What is Black Tar Heroin?

Heroin is an illegal and addictive drug. There are different types of heroin, all of which are dangerous and often even life-threatening. What is black tar heroin? What makes it different from other types of heroin?

Created From the Poppy

Processed from morphine, a natural substance that is found in the seed pod of certain poppy seeds, heroin is a highly addictive drug. It can be produced in a number of forms or grades. White powder heroin is the most pure and black tar heroin is the least pure of these. White heroin is made by isolating the morphine molecule from the opium found in poppy seeds and then synthesizing the drug from the morphine.

The process of producing black tar heroin, though, skips the step of morphine isolation and synthesizes the heroin straight from the opium. This type of heroin is quicker and less expensive to produce than white heroin and so may be a cheaper option for those addicted to opioids.

Pure Heroin

A white powder that has a bitter taste, pure heroin predominantly comes from South America. It has also been known to originate in Southeast Asia. This type of heroin dominates the US markets east of the Mississippi River. This highly pure heroin can be more appealing to new users, as it can be snorted or smoked, rather than injected. The drug is more typically sold as a white or brown powder that has been cut with starch, sugars, powdered milk, or quinine.

Black Tar Heroin

Named for its stickiness, similar to roofing tar, black tar heroin can also be hard like coal. It is usually produced in Mexico and sold west of the Mississippi River in the US. It has a darker color because of the crude processing methods that create impurities. Users of black tar will dilute, dissolve, and inject the drug into their muscles, veins, or under their skin.

Black tar heroin is distributed as a sticky chunk that is blackish-brownish. It has been around for more than 100 years, but it became popular in the US in the 1970s as it is cheaper and easier to make than white powder heroin.

There are many dangers associated with black tar heroin, beyond the serious consequences of heroin use itself. This type of drug may be diluted with black shoe polish or dirt. The soil can contain the spores of a toxic substance known as Clostridium botulinum, which can cause botulism, a potentially fatal type of food poisoning. If this spore infiltrates a wound on the body, it can cause an infection known as wound botulism.

Dangerous, Life-Threatening Consequences

Because of the way it is cut, black tar heroin can have serious, life-threatening consequences, especially for people who inject the drug. Between September 2017 and April 2018, there were nine cases of wound botulism reported in San Diego, California. All of the individuals suffering from the infection reported injecting heroin, with seven of them having used black tar heroin. Six of the individuals had injected the drug. One of them died as a result of the infection.

Another case of wound botulism was reported in San Diego County in October 2019. This case was also associated with black tar heroin injection. Additionally, between October 2 and November 24, 2019, nine people who had injected black tar heroin were admitted to San Diego County hospitals with severe myonecrosis. This disease damages muscle tissue. Seven of these individuals died from their infection. They ranged in age from 19 to 57; five were male.

There were 13 cases of probable and confirmed wound botulism in the last three months of 2019 in southern California. These cases mostly involved black tar heroin users.

Addiction and Mental Health Support for Men

We want you to be safe and healthy. When you are addicted to a dangerous drug such as black tar heroin, we can help. At PACE Recovery, we optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your addiction to drugs or alcohol and your mental health issues. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

The professionals at PACE understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

How PTSD Presents in Young Men

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has long been associated with veterans and first responders. However, anyone who experiences a traumatic event can be susceptible to PTSD. June is PTSD Awareness Month. Understanding how PTSD presents in young men is an important area to be aware of, especially now.

What is PTSD?

When something disturbing or unsettling happens, it’s normal to be a little upset for a while. When you experience a traumatic event or circumstance and your negative feelings last a month or longer, you may have PTSD. The anxiety disorder may not become apparent immediately after the trauma. Sometimes it takes weeks or even months to experience the symptoms of PTSD.

Traumatic Events

As a young man, you may experience a traumatic event or live through a traumatic circumstance in your life. While that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll develop the anxiety disorder, these are the types of experiences that can cause PTSD. Your fear in such a situation will trigger a “fight or flight” response, which is the natural way your body protects you in times of danger. You will probably also experience a heightened alertness, increased blood pressure, and a faster heart rate and breathing rate.

PTSD symptoms are longer lasting and more severe, in some cases. Those symptoms can be caused by an event that is life threatening such as a bad car accident or a violent assault. If you’ve been in a physical fight with someone else, that can be a traumatic event. You may have lived through a natural disaster that was devastating such as a flood or hurricane. The COVID-19 pandemic, with its uncertainty, fear, and isolation, has been a traumatic event for many young men.

You may also experience trauma when the situation is not necessarily life threatening to you. For example, you may have unexpectedly lost a loved one such as a grandparent or parent. You may have witnessed a car accident or someone else’s severe injury, rather than experiencing it firsthand. This can also be a traumatic event for you.

PTSD Emerging in Young Adults

While anyone can experience a traumatic event and subsequent PTSD onset at any age, the typical onset age for PTSD is in early adulthood. PTSD presents in young men in their 20s, with a median onset age of 23. Part of the reason for this may be that older adults do not put themselves in situations where they may experience trauma as much as young adults may do. Young men tend to be more active, join the military in early adulthood, and are less experienced with dealing with emotional and physical stress.

Do I Have PTSD?

After experiencing a traumatic event or circumstance in your life, you may have certain symptoms that can lead you to think you may have PTSD. If these symptoms last more than four weeks, you should consult with a healthcare professional to seek out treatment for your mental health. PTSD presents in young men in a number of ways. You may experience some or all of these symptoms, which are categorized into different types.

Re-experiencing symptoms. These occur when something reminds you or the trauma you experienced and you then feel that fear all over again. You might have flashbacks or nightmares as well as frightening thoughts.

Avoidance symptoms. You might try to avoid the people or situations that trigger memories of the traumatic event. You stay away from places or objects that remind you of what happened. If you were in a bad car accident, for example, you may not want to drive again.

Arousal and reactivity symptoms. You may be jittery or constantly on the lookout for danger. You can be easily startled, feeling on edge, and you can have trouble sleeping. You may also find that you have angry outbursts.

Cognition and mood symptoms. These are negative changes in your feelings and beliefs. You might start to develop negative thoughts about the world and about yourself. You feel guilty or are blaming yourself for what happened. You have trouble concentrating and no longer enjoy the things that used to interest you. In addition, you may have trouble remembering the important details of the traumatic event itself.

Mental Health Treatment for Men at PACE

As a young man, if you are experiencing PTSD symptoms, it is time to reach out to the professionals at PACE Recovery. Asking for help is a sign of strength. We optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your mental health and substance use issues you may also have. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

At PACE, we understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

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