There is less stigma now in today’s world when it comes to suffering with depression. It is a mental disorder that years ago would’ve put you in an institution for people to think you were crazy. That is not the case anymore, however; even though around 18.8 million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with a depressive illness, nearly, 54% of the population believe depression to be a personal weakness. So, it’s no wonder 41% of women will not seek help because they are to embarrassed to talk about it. Depression does effect women more then it does men.
These statistics come from the National Mental Health Association, which states that 13 million women each year are effected by depression. The number of women who will be effected with clinical depression during their lifetime is one out of every eight. And although symptoms of depression for men and women are basically the same, women experience them more often. There is depression in the winter months, known as seasonal affective disorder. This is also more common among women then men. Atypical depression is also more common in women. This is when instead of losing weight or not sleeping well just the opposite can occur. Women will gain weight and sleep excessively. Feelings of guilt is more pronounced in women than men and women are also more susceptible to thyroid disorders, which can certainly lead to depression in women.
Women are twice as likely as men to have problems with depression. This is not just in the United States, or among a certain race or based on economical differences but rather taken from worldwide statistics. Depression effects many different women across the board. There are some theories as to why women suffer from depression more often then men. Below are a few common reasons for higher depression levels in women:
Premenstrual problems may be to blame. There is a hormonal fluctuation during a woman’s menstrual cycle. As women we know this can cause irritability emotional reactivity. In some women PMS can seriously affect their lives. This is, known as, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD.
Another cause may be pregnancy and infertility. There are a lot of hormonal changes going on during pregnancy. These changes can lead to depression. Also, if a woman experiences an unwanted pregnancy, miscarriage, or infertility she can feel depressed. There are other biological reasons, such as, postpartum depression and menopause.
There are cultural causes as well for women with depression. Women play so many different roles today as a wife, mother, and career woman. This can be overwhelming and lead to depression. Any kind of abuse, for example, physical or sexual can be contributed to depression in women. Especially, in women who have been raped. Women who are dissatisfied in their marriage may be depressed because of lack of intimacy or because the marriage is on the rocks. Poverty is, also, a well known cause. Women are affected more with poverty then men are.
Treatment in women can vary depending on what may be causing the depression. It’s important to talk to your doctor and figure out if your depression occurs with your menstrual cycle. Women may start on lower doses of antidepressants than men due to biological differences, so it’s important for women to be closely monitored on any medication because they can experience more severe and frequent side effects than men.
Another option that doesn’t include medication but is arguably equally as effective is therapy. Being able to relate and find a connection is a very common feeling for women in all aspects of their life, so by getting that person to confide in and talk with can provide a sense of rational and decreased levels of depression. As with many other types of depression we have mentioned, exercise is always the best natural treatment because it produces serotonin in the brain. The release of serotonin in the brain is proven to increase positive thoughts and as a result not allow the negative and depressed feelings to take over. Always talk to your doctor first before implementing any new routine to make sure you are healthy enough to undergo those life changes.