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Last Updated on June 3, 2023

Depression in women: Understanding the gender gap

depressed girl

It is not uncommon for women, especially in their teens and 20s, to suffer from depression. One in seven American women (18%) suffer from depression at some point in their lives. Men can suffer from depression, too. But, compared to women, it is less common. Only 10% of American men are diagnosed each year “depression”. Women are three times more likely to receive treatment for depression. Many doctors do not hesitate to prescribe antidepressants to women. Studies show that women, like men, get better if they take antidepressants (often called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs). For women in general, they can reduce the risk of suicide. However, not as quickly. It turns out that there are some characteristics that make it more likely that women will be treated for depression. And these “features” Are different from the causes of depression in men. What are the causes of depression in women? Unlike depression in men, depression in women is related to being a woman at all, including being treated as of little value and judged by society as worthless.

Some of the symptoms of depression that can occur over a short period or over a longer period are: sadness, anxiety, hopelessness, fatigue, irritability, too much or too little sleep, forgetfulness, loss of interest or pleasure in previously enjoyable activities, appetite or weight gain (or weight loss) and so on. Women often have one or more of these signs. For example, one in seven American women report at least four days a week experiencing little or no energy.

Speaking of causes, much of this can be the result of a woman not feeling valued, especially if she is unable to contribute monetarily to her family. Some things in life are better left alone when the cost of treatment can be high, both financially and emotionally.

Influence on a girl

cry girl

Women (whether young or old, married or unmarried) sometimes try to cope with stress better than men (depending on gender) if they have the opportunity. Sometimes talking to people alleviates the situation, at least temporarily.

However, if these conditions are not changed, major depression can progress, leading to new symptoms, such as depression when people come home from work tired or have had a busy day at work and just need to sleep. Even when depression “going away”, Fatigue from work doesn’t seem to be able to quickly “leave”.

Unfortunately, depression can be a heavy burden for a woman who is already struggling in other areas of her life: eating poorly or not eating at all, sleeping too little or too often, not exercising for long, avoiding certain places, and so on.

Other things a doctor might consider are mental disorders such as anxiety and bipolar disorder, mood disorders such as mania, and the possibility of certain hormones and physical things that can lead to hormonal imbalances or diseases such as diabetes or other diseases related to blood sugar imbalances.

It is important to remember the possibility that depression is NOT just a part of being a woman! Something has to change, not just because we are different, but because it may prevent some women from living healthy, happy and active lives.

SEE ALSO:  The best way to Seize Control of Your Depression

Peculiarities of physiology

Girls also suffer from unique types of depression because of their physiology and hormones. Estrogen affects more than 300 functions of the female body, including regulating the menstrual cycle, protecting the heart and maintaining strong bones. Fluctuations in estrogen levels during menopause, pregnancy and menstrual cycles can affect predisposition and, in serious cases, activate depressive episodes. Also, as more and more women suffer from depression, they have a greater impact on society and on their family. For example, many women who suffer from this disorder are prone to self-harm (the number of suicide attempts among women has increased from 2 to 10 percent of all suicide attempts), which creates an even greater impact. Although this influence is greater, men are no exception. Depression, when it occurs in men, is due to the body’s inability to create a sufficient balance of the hormones testosterone and cortisol.

It’s time to overcome the stereotypes that keep girls from getting medical help:

  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can be treated or prevented-there is no reason why women should suffer so needlessly and frequently.
  • More than half of women who suffer from postpartum depression will experience it again when they have another child. It’s really important to treat it early and identify this danger.
  • The rate of suicide among women is highest during the perimenopausal period; it’s a shortened life, given that one-third of their lives are lived now!
  • Recent research shows that women’s biology differs from men’s much more than previously thought, and these physical differences (such as different levels of estrogen, serotonin, cortisol, and melatonin) are beginning to provide clues as to why women are much more susceptible to depression, and to a special kind of depression called seasonal affective disorder.
  • Anxiety plays an important role in depression, and it may be that women and men respond differently to stress – while girls are much more likely to suffer from “mental disorders” such as depression, anxiety attacks and eating disorders, men are much more prone to abrupt behaviors and drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Fluctuating hormone levels in women during the menstrual cycle, after childbirth and during menopause lead to types of depression unique to girls, such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), postpartum depression and perimenopausal depression. The good news is that research is helping us identify ways to combat and prevent and understand the biological factors of depression in women. A woman can suffer from depression at any stage of her life. Like depression in men, the root cause of depression in girls is a combination of changes caused by trauma, stress, brain chemistry, and genetics.

The leading treatments for depression will be the same for girls and men. Girls who have experienced sexual trauma (such as rape or incest) may want to work with a therapist who has training and experience in this area. In addition, a woman may be predisposed, due to her exceptional biology, to unique types of depression not found in guys.