Helping women overcome anxiety and depression

Depressed woman being comforted.

Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression disproportionately affect women.

This disparity is not merely statistical but is deeply rooted in a complex interplay of social, biological, and environmental factors. Understanding these elements is crucial for addressing mental health challenges effectively, especially when it comes to tailoring interventions for women.

This blog post explores the prevalence of anxiety and depression in women, examines contributing factors and highlights how psychotherapy can play a pivotal role in helping women navigate and overcome these conditions.

Understanding anxiety and depression in women

Statistics show that women are about twice as likely as men to suffer from anxiety and depression. These mental health conditions can severely impact a woman’s quality of life, affecting their careers, family life and overall wellbeing.

In Anxiety: statistics the Mental Health Foundation states that more women report experiencing high levels of anxiety than men:

‘In 2022/23, an average of 37.1% of women and 29.9% of men reported high levels of anxiety. Compared to data from 2012 to 2015, this has increased significantly from 21.8% of women and 18.3% of men reporting high levels of anxiety.’

Women are also more affected than men by generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) – described by the NHS as ‘a long-term condition that causes you to feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than 1 specific event’ GAD is a common condition found more frequently in people from the ages of 35 to 55.

Anxiety disorders are more common in young women (aged 16 to 24), than in any other age and gender groups

Further evidence is provided by Priory (‘the leading independent provider of mental healthcare and adult social care in the UK’) which reports in Anxiety in women that women are more likely than men to suffer with anxiety, with statistics showing that:

‘Women are more likely than men to struggle with agoraphobia, phobias, generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)’ they ‘are more likely than men to experience both anxiety and depression at the same time’ and also that women ‘are more likely than men to struggle with more than one anxiety disorder at the same time’.

Priory also notes that, worldwide, ‘7% of women are thought to have an anxiety disorder, compared to 2.8% of men’ and that in England ‘anxiety disorders are more common in young women (aged 16 to 24), than in any other age and gender groups’.

Biological Factors

Biologically, women go through several phases of hormonal fluctuation (puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, postpartum and menopause) which can predispose them to emotional disturbances.

Hormones such as oestrogen and progesterone have significant effects on neurotransmitters linked to mood regulation, including serotonin and dopamine. Disruptions in these can manifest as depression or anxiety.

Genetic predisposition can also play a role, as women might carry genes that increase their risk of suffering from these disorders.

In addition, studies suggest that differences in brain structure and stress response between men and women might make women more emotionally reactive and vulnerable to depression and anxiety.

Social and Environmental Factors

Social and environmental pressures on women can significantly influence the incidence anxiety and depression among women, because social expectations and roles often demand that women find themselves having to juggle their working lives and caregiving duties at home. This double duty can lead to chronic stress, which is a significant trigger for depression and anxiety.

Meanwhile, the challenges that many women face at work, including discrimination, harassment, the gender pay gap and being underrepresented in senior roles, can exacerbate mental health issues and contribute to stress and diminished self-esteem.

And, of course, relationship dynamics and family responsibilities often place additional emotional burdens on women, who are all too often the ones taking on the role of primary caregiver – not only to children, but often to ageing parents as well – responsibilities that can add a further layer of stress and can precipitate anxiety and depression.

Sadly, women also experience higher rates of sexual violence and abuse, which can leave them with long-term psychological problems.

Evidence of these problems facing women is provided in the medical journal The Lancet, which reported in Global prevalence and burden of depressive and anxiety disorders in 204 countries and territories in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic that:

‘Additional carer and household responsibilities due to school closures or family members becoming unwell are more likely to fall on women.

Women are more likely to be financially disadvantaged during the pandemic due to lower salaries, less savings, and less secure employment than their male counterparts.

They are also more likely to be victims of domestic violence, the prevalence of which increased during periods of lockdown and stay-at-home orders.’

The impact of specialist psychotherapy

The benefits of receiving targeted psychotherapy can be profound. Counselling with a skilled psychotherapist who specialises in recurrent anxiety, depression, relationship problems and self-esteem issues can offer not just treatment, but a pathway to a more fulfilling life.

Benefits include:

  • Improved mood and reduced anxiety. Effective therapy helps reduce symptoms, leading to improved daily functioning.
  • Better relationships. With improved communication skills and healthier boundaries, women can experience more fulfilling relationships.
  • Increased self-worth. Women suffering from anxiety and depression often lose their self-esteem; psychotherapy can help them value themselves again.
  • Greater resilience. Counselling can help women develop stronger coping skills, enabling them to handle future stresses more effectively.


While the journey to overcoming anxiety and depression is uniquely challenging for women, it is far from insurmountable. Attending a course of psychoanalytic psychotherapy can support your mental health by managing your psychological distress and helping reduce symptoms, so you can enjoy life again.

Here at MTS Psychological Health, I am passionate about your mental health. Don’t suffer mental health issues in silence: get in touch and discover how I can help you overcome anxiety and depression, so you can live a better life.