Depression is the most common mental health disorder. As with other health conditions, depression in women often differs from depression in men. Women are twice as likely to suffer from depression as men are, and they are more likely to have symptoms such as anxiety, guilt, conflict avoidance, low self-esteem, and listlessness.
There are also forms of depression that occur only in women, such as postpartum depression, premenopausal depression, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
So why is depression more common among women? After all, the diagnostic criteria remains the same for women and men. There are actually several unique causes of depression in women that explain many of these differences.
Social and Lifestyle Stressors
While many of the social stressors mentioned below could trigger depression in men or women, women are more likely to develop depression as a result of some of these life changes or events:
- Death of a loved one
- Professional or financial struggles
- Romantic relationship problems or divorce
- Conflicts with friends
- Loss of employment
Again, any of the events above can cause people to feel sad or hopeless temporarily, but the important thing to understand is that some of these social stressors can contribute to major depressive disorder, especially in women.
Hormonal and Physical Changes
Women go through many hormonal changes in their lives. Some of these extreme shifts can lead to or worsen symptoms of depression in women. Major life stages can bring impactful changes to a woman’s body and even her lifestyle. Some of the ones that can lead to depression include the following:
- Post-partum stage
Even menstruation can lead to depression and other emotional struggles. Premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder are serious, and both can lead to hormonal fluctuations that can trigger extreme mood swings, irritability, and even clinical depression in some situations.
Psychological Contributing Factors
Of the two sexes, women are more likely to suffer from recurring negative thoughts, rumination, poor self-esteem, negative body image, and high levels of stress, all of which can contribute to or cause depression.
Body image issues in particular cause a great deal of psychological pain, and they usually start at or around puberty and worsen as adolescence goes on. This is due to a combination of hormonal, physical, and social changes that occur as a girl grows up and becomes a woman.
It can be easy to feel alone as a woman with depression, but it is important to remember that professional help is available. Seeking advice and treatment from a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist is a wonderful way to see what lifestyle and medical changes can be made to help manage symptoms. Read about different treatment methods to begin to learn what options are available to you.
If you are a woman who is ready to seek help with your symptoms of depression, contact Pyramid Healthcare to learn more about outpatient treatment for depression.
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