What are the Effects of Depression on Women?September 21, 2017 - Mental Health - 0 Comments
Around 15 million Americans suffer from depression every year of which the majority are women, around two-thirds of whom do not receive the treatment they need. An unwillingness to communicate difficulty in coping, particularly if a caregiver, prevents many women with depression from speaking out about their suffering with this chronic mental illness.
What Exactly is Depression?
Depression is a chronic illness that goes beyond ‘feeling down’ or ‘having the blues’. There is still a widely held misconception that it’s possible to ‘snap out of it’ and many people without the disease find it difficult to understand. Depression in women can present in a variety of symptoms ranging from moderate to severe including:
- Persistent and occasionally overwhelming sadness
- Mood swings
- Feeling apathetic towards previously enjoyed activities
- Guilt feelings, pessimism, worthlessness and general negativity
- Issues with sleep including insomnia and also sleeping too much
- Loss of appetite and weight loss or overeating with weight gain
- Difficulty in focusing or concentration and feelings of being disconnected
- Suicidal thoughts and obsessively thinking about death
What is Bipolar Disorder and How Does It Present in Women?
Bipolar disorder or manic depression is a form of mental illness that is characterized by moods that swing between mania and depression over the course of days, weeks or even months. Although mania is when a sufferer is in an elevated mood and appears excitable about life, it conceals a serious personality disorder that requires specialized depression treatment for women.
The energized state of mania has its own set of symptoms in women including:
- Unusually excitable mood
- Irritability and short temper
- Inability to sleep
- Conceiving unrealistic plans or schemes
- Noticeable talkativeness
- Racing and erratic thought processes
- Increased physical activity, including sexual activity
- Markedly high energy levels
- Poor judgment and risky behavior
Why Do Women Suffer from Depression More Than Men?
Depression as a mental illness does not really present in people until after adolescence and is reported to occur at about the same rate in boys as girls. However, once puberty kicks in certain traumas from childhood that may have been buried and internalized, can reemerge in the confused, vulnerable and fragile state that major hormonal changes cause.
These hormonal developments have more of a dramatic effect on girls than boys as their bodies prepare for childbirth and so it’s no surprise that girls are particularly vulnerable to depression during this transition period.
It is not just puberty that affects hormone fluctuations to cause depression, either. All phases of a woman’s life including the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause have an impact on a woman’s state of mind and female-specific conditions like PMS, post-natal depression and fertility issues can be very detrimental to mental health.
There are other factors that can make women predisposed to develop depression including:
- Family and personal history of mood disorders
- Loss of a parent before the age of 10
- Divorcing parents at a young age, particularly if acrimonious
- Loss of support from social services or the threat of it
- Ongoing psychological stresses including losing a job, relationship issues or divorce
- Physical or sexual abuse in childhood
- Using certain medications
Depression Treatment Centers for Women
For women with depression, the benefits of receiving care in an all-female environment are immeasurable. This is because lines of communication are easier to keep open when women are in each other’s company where they are met with complete empathy and understanding of what they are going through. Depression treatment for women is designed to meet the very special needs women have with treatment programs that empower patients to combat the potentially devastating effects of clinical depression.
Learning to cope with daily life involves medical solutions combined with a holistic approach with women’s depression so that it is possible to take tangible steps to living with the illness for the long term. Gender-specific women’s depression treatment is considered the most effective route to a life no longer blighted by the disease. Most importantly, it’s important to remember that there are other women living with depression and that isolation is not the answer. Reaching out to others walking the same path is a great way to feel supported and nurtured, particularly when the going gets tough.
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