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Study: Women 40 Percent More Likely To Develop Mental Illness Than Men

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File photo of an elderly person. (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

File photo of an elderly person. (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) – There is a gender gap for mental illness, with females being up to 40 percent more likely to develop some type of mental health condition than their male counterparts.

A new study to be published by Oxford University Press finds that women are nearly 75 percent more likely than men to have suffered from depression, and approximately 60 percent more likely to report an anxiety disorder.

The U.K. study was led by Dr. Daniel Freeman, who said his latest research set to appear in the book, “The Stressed Sex: Uncovering the Truth about Men, Women and Mental Health,” sets out to answer a simple but crucial question: are rates of psychological disorder different between men and women?

“This important issue has been largely ignored in all the debates raging about gender differences,” Dr. Freeman stated on his website.

Dr. Freeman said that because the conditions most affecting women were more common than those affecting men, overall mental health conditions were more common in women than in men, by a factor of 20 percent to 40 percent.

However, the study also found that men are more likely to report substance abuse disorders – around two and a half times more frequently than women. Conditions such as ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and schizophrenia did not have statistically significant differences between adult males and females.

“There is a pattern within – women tend to suffer more from what we call ‘internal’ problems like depression or sleep problems,” Dr. Freeman told The Guardian. “They take out problems on themselves, as it were, where men have externalising problems, where they take things out on their environment, such as alcohol and anger problems.”

In the U.S., it appears that mental health diagnoses have spread across the gender gap, even for children. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that up to one in five American youngsters — about 7 million to 12 million, by one estimate — experience a mental health disorder each year.

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