Depression in women is very common.
In fact, women are twice as likely to develop clinical depression as men.
Up to 1 in 4 women are likely to have an episode of major depression at some point in life.
What Is Depression?
- Clinical depression is a serious and pervasive mood disorder.
- It causes feelings of sadness, hopelessness, helplessness,
- and worthlessness.
- Depression can be mild to moderate with symptoms of apathy,
- little appetite, difficulty sleeping, low self-esteem, and low-grade fatigue.
- Or it can be more severe.
What Are the Symptoms of Depression in Women?
Depression in women include:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities, including sex
- Restlessness, crankiness, or excessive crying
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, hopelessness, pessimism
- Sleeping too much or too little, early-morning waking
- Appetite and/or weight loss, or overeating and weight gain
- Less energy, fatigue, feeling “slowed down”
- Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
- Trouble concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain
Why Is Depression in Women More Common Than Depression in Men?
Before adolescence, depression is rare and occurs at about the same rate in girls and boys. But with the start of puberty, a girl’s risk of having depression increases dramatically to twice that of boys. Depression in women may be related to changes in hormone levels that occur throughout a woman’s life. These changes are evident during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, as well as after giving birth or having a miscarriage
In addition, the hormone fluctuations that come with each month’s menstrual cycle probably contribute to premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphonic disorder, a severe syndrome marked especially by depression, anxiety, and mood swings that happens the week before menstruation and interferes with daily life.
What Raises the Chances of Depression in Women?
Things that increase the risk of depression in women include reproductive, genetic, or other biological factors; interpersonal factors; and certain psychological and personality characteristics.
In addition, women juggling work with raising kids and women who are single parents suffer more stress that may trigger symptoms of depression.
Other things that could increase risk include:
- Family history of mood disorders
- History of mood disorders in early reproductive years
- Loss of a parent before age 10
- Loss of a social support system or the threat of such a loss
- Ongoing psychological and social stress, such as loss of a job, relationship stress, separation, or divorce
- Physical or sexual abuse as a child
- Use of certain medications
- Women can also get postpartum depression after giving birth. Some people get seasonal affective disorder in the winter. Depression is one part of bipolar disorder.
Is Depression Hereditary?
Depression can run in families. When it does, it generally starts between ages 15 and 30.
A family link to depression is much more common in women…