Most women think too much, overthinkers often drink too much
ARBOR, Mich. Most women think too much and overthinking leads
to depression, an inability to move forward and wrecked emotional
health, according to ground-breaking research detailed in University
of Michigan psychology professor Susan Nolen-Hoeksema's new
book due out this week.
A new follow-up study building on her years of
research, to appear in the Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, shows
how overthinkers are more susceptible to alcoholism. Overthinkingendless
torrents of negative thoughts and emotions often triggered by something
as fleeting as a sarcastic remark from a friend, relative or co-workeris
the focus of "Women Who Think Too Much: How To Break Free
of Overthinking and Reclaim Your Life," (2003, Henry Holt
Among the findings:
· Overthinking is a national epidemic among young and middle
aged adults but is relatively rare among older adults: 73 percent
of 25-35 year-olds overthink compared to 52 percent of 45-55 year-olds
and just 20 percent of 65-75 year-olds.
· Overthinking contributes to severe depression and anxiety
especially in women and interferes with good problem-solving.
· Women are significantly more likely than men to fall into
overthinking and to be immobilized by it: 57 percent of women and
43 percent of men are overthinkers.
· Overthinkers are significantly more likely to abuse drugs
and alcohol, and overthinking may push some individuals to consider
or attempt suicide.
Nolen-Hoeksema explains the epidemic of overthinking in America,
which may have only worsened in light of the events of the Sept.
11 terrorist attacks, the slumping economy and preparations for
potential war in Iraq.
In the Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy article, Nolen-Hoeksema
and colleague Zaje Harrell show that overthinkers are significantly
more likely to turn to alcohol to drown their worrisome thoughts
and distressing feelings. The sample for this study included 1,317
women and men in a randomly selected community sample.
who are overthinkers (as compared to men who do not overthink) were
also significantly more likely to binge-drink and have alcohol-related
problems. Nolen-Hoeksema also found that the men who used alcohol
to cope with stress were more likely to develop new alcohol-related
problems over the course of the study.
Nolen-Hoeksema's multi-year research program shows that overthinking
leads people especially women to focus on negative
memories of the past, depressing explanations of the present, and
hopelesssness about the future. As a result, overthinkers generate
poor solutions to their problems and feel unable to implement any
Symptoms of depression and anxiety increase, and overthinkers are
at risk for major debilitating depression and persistent anxiety.
The good news: overthinking can be overcome. The book offers dozens
of strategies to help readers break and rise above the grip of overthinking,
leading to more healthy, productive and fulfilling lives.
For more information, contact Tracy Locke, Henry Holt and Co.,
(212) 886-1096, E-mail: email@example.com
Contact: Joe Serwach
Phone: (734) 647-1844