Girls are twice as likely as men to be identified as having depression — in fact, almost 30 percent of women in America report depression symptoms, based on the National Institue of Mental Health (NIMH).
And while girls and men may have similar depression symptoms, women tend to be prone gain weight, sleep excessively, have a heightened hunger, and to experience feelings of stress and guilt.
Depression: Why More Women Experience it
Researchers are still searching for reasons why women tend to be more likely than men to suffer depression, but there is signs that the following may play a part:
- Hormone fluctuations. Hormone levels fluctuate throughout a lady ‘s life. The hormonal changes that happen during puberty, during the premenstrual period, around pregnancy, and around the time of menopause can cause changes in brain chemicals that regulate emotion and mood, triggering depression
- Premenstrual syndrome. In serious instances of premenstrual syndrome, known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), women may experience depression along with other symptoms before menstruation. It’s really not yet understood why, but some girls are far more sensitive than others to the hormonal changes that occur before the menstrual cycle.
- Pregnancy and childbirth. After giving birth, women are vulnerable to postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is related to the physical and hormonal changes women experience after giving birth, in addition to the duty of caring for an infant.
- Responses to pressure. The loss of a loved one, an illness, a difficult relationship, or a different trying life situation can trigger a depressive episode. Women have a tendency to feel pressure to get a longer period of time after this event, that might make them more vulnerable to depression.
- Ruminative thinking. Women often practice ruminative thinking, which is repetitively focusing on symptoms of distress and what is causing them. There is evidence that ruminative thinking is linked with more severe episodes of depression.
- Birth control pills. Taking oral contraceptives, especially those with a higher progesterone content, is a risk factor for depression.
Depression: How Women Can Cope
Without seeking help, many women live with their depression. But depression is a highly treatable illness, and treatment can help you live a life that is happier and more productive. Your doctor can diagnose and treat your illness, or refer one to a mental health professional who’s experienced in coping with depression.
Your doctor will talk with you to check out medical reasons that could be responsible for your depression symptoms. Your physician also will ask:
- How are you sleeping?
- How is your appetite?
- Has your weight changed?
- How is your energy level?
- How is the concentration?
- Are you really having trouble paying attention?
If you’ve been experiencing problems in these regions, your physician may wish to know the extent to that they’ve impacted your life.
The most common treatments contain psychotherapy and antidepressants, if you do need treatment for depression. Antidepressants work by acting on brain chemicals that regulate mood and emotion. In psychotherapy, or “talk therapy,” a therapist will coach you on how you can change your thinking and behaviours to decrease your depression symptoms.
Treatment for depression may not work right away, but you can get your mood to slowly improve when treatment is started by you. Take good care of yourself, attempt to be involved in activities you enjoy, and postpone any life-changing decisions, like seeking a divorce or creating work change, until you feel better.