Depression can hit anybody. However, its manifestation can differ based on a number of factors, such as age and gender. In this article, we’ll take a look at depression in women.
According to studies, women are twice as likely to suffer from depression compared to men. Women also have unique response patterns to stress and depression. The condition can also affect many areas of a woman’s life, from their own mental and physical health to their social and professional lives.
Depression in women can also be considered more destructive. For instance, when a mother is depressed, the way they show affection toward their spouse and children may change. This can lead to problems within the family.
There is no shortcut to depression treatment. However, it is necessary to take that important first step, which is to understand depression, particularly how it manifests in women patients.
- The Common Symptoms of Depression in Women
The signs and symptoms of depression vary from person to person. They can range from mild to severe, and may be distinguished by how they can strongly impact one’s life. The common symptoms of depression in women include the following:
- Depression can make you feel hopeless and helpless, as though nothing in your life can get better and nobody, not even yourself, can do anything to lessen your burdens.
- The condition can also keep you from enjoying hobbies and other activities that used to give you pleasure. You may also lack the energy to perform such activities.
- Appetite changes may also signify depression. You may find yourself either overeating or lacking the appetite to eat at all.
- Getting angry, irritated, and agitated easily is an indication of drastic mood changes, which in turn may indicate depression.
- Feeling physically drained, tired, and fatigued may also signify depression.
- Individuals with depression may also have trouble remembering, concentrating, and making important decisions.
- Unexplained body aches, including muscle cramps, headaches, stomach upset, and breast tenderness, may also be caused by depression.
- Finally, people with severe depression may have suicidal thoughts.
By recognizing these symptoms, it becomes easier to know which step to take next. More importantly, you’d know it might be a wise decision to consult a mental health professional.
- The Common Causes of Depression in Women
As mentioned above, women are more likely to experience depression than men. This is because there are a number of situations exclusively experienced by women that are linked to depression. Here are some of the situations and conditions that are suspected to cause depression in women:
Hormonal fluctuations. It is common for women to go through hormonal imbalances throughout their life. These imbalances are widely linked to the menstrual cycle. Thus, women experience various physical and emotional symptoms throughout the month.
Sometimes, these hormonal fluctuations can be so bad they cause depression symptoms. Many women experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which often cause emotional ups and downs. Meanwhile, there are women who experience the more severe premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). This condition is characterized by severe irritability and depression.
Furthermore, hormonal changes also occur during and after pregnancy. This is why pregnant women tend to be more emotional. Postpartum depression, on the other hand, may occur immediately or within years after a woman gives birth.
Stress. Women have been found to produce more stress hormones than their male counterparts. To make matters more complicated, the female hormone progesterone may keep the body’s stress hormone response from shutting down. As a result, women are more susceptible to develop stress-induced depression.
Hypothyroidism. This thyroid problem is associated with depression, which is why it is first ruled out when a female patient seeks consultation for depression.
Body image insecurities. Women are naturally more inclined to be more concerned about their physical appearance. This is why this problem may also be age-related.
Medication. Some drugs and medicines, such as birth control pills and non-stimulants, may have side effects that can trigger depression.
Health problems. Patients of chronic illnesses and injuries may suffer from depression as a result of self-pity and helplessness.
- The Different Ways to Combat Depression in Women
Finally, it is important to know what whatever the cause of depression and whatever symptoms you may experience, there is hope. There are things you can do to alleviate and control depression. These include the following:
- Don’t hesitate to seek support. Reaching out to family and friends who you know truly care for you can help you feel better. Simply talking about your problems can help you ease your burdens and calm down. If you are not comfortable talking about depression with people close to you, go to a counselor or mental health professional.
- Stay healthy. It’s difficult to have a healthy mind if your body isn’t. Make sure you get enough sleep, exercise, and nutrition.
- Combat negative thoughts. When you notice yourself starting to dwell into negative thoughts, challenge it by thinking about events that make you happy. You can also talk to yourself as if you’re a friend who gives advice and encouraging words.
By understanding depression, you can help yourself or the women you love better. If possible and necessary, seek the help of a mental health professional to get proper diagnosis and treatment recommendations.