May 25

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Women and Depression

Women and Depression

Women and Depression

Depression is not a sign of weakness or a character flaw. It’s an illness that needs to be treated. Although this mental disorder can affect both men and women, it is more prevalent in women. The causes and symptoms are often different for every woman and there is no “one size fits all” treatment. When a woman is suffering from clinical depression, it stops her from being at her best. This disorder is a serious condition that can have a major impact in a woman’s life. It can affect her relationships, job, social life and sense of self-worth.

Depression in women is not uncommon. 1 in every 8 women will suffer from major depressive disorder at some point in her life according to the National Mental Health Association. The good news is that clinical depression can be treated and the more you understand what’s causing you to feel the blues the more equipped you will be in dealing with your condition head on. The first step is knowing the symptoms:

– Lack of interest in activities that are usually enjoyable, including sex

– Persistent headache and chronic pain that do not respond to medications

– Persistent feeling of sadness, anxiety and emptiness

– Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness, anger and guilt

– Excessive crying (you cry for no reason) and irritability

– Fatigue and decrease in energy

– Sleeping too little or too much

– Suicidal behavior or thoughts

– Difficulty remembering or making decisions

While the signs and symptoms of depression for both men and women are almost the same, women have the tendency to experience certain symptoms more often than men. For example:

  1. Women tend to blame themselves when they are depressed but men tend to blame others.

  2. Women feel scared while men feel guarded.

  3. Women avoid conflicts while men tend to create conflicts.

Several factors lead to the unique picture of depression in women such as social pressure (pressure to have a husband or kids), genetic or biological factors, interpersonal factors, certain psychological characteristics and hormonal changes.

Some women get depressed because of body image issues (body dissatisfaction), they focus on the negative aspects of their life, family responsibilities or persistent financial problems and overwhelming stress at home, school or work. The treatment for depression in women is the same with the treatment used for major depressive disorder. However, the doctor may recommend a unique treatment depending on the causes or symptoms. If the depression is linked to hormonal changes or reproductive cycle, the doctor will consider mood side effects from birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy. Finally, women battling depression can make small lifestyle changes to improve their condition such as exercising regularly and getting a regular dose of sunshine.

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