Depression in women is considered to be a kind of illness which needs to be kept quiet about. People behave as if the mind is not a part of the body, and that its health issues are not to be taken seriously. An even worse case is that once a person comes out saying that they are dealing with some kind of mental health problem, everyone seems to judge them and give them these long talks on positivity. This is especially the case with depression.
The moment you tell someone that you are dealing with depression, that person starts off with this long list of positivity quotes and tips on how to be happy. With due respect for their efforts, what they tend to forget is that depression is not a state of sadness, it is a chemical deficiency in the brain, which unfortunately most of the time cannot be healed by just being positive.
Now this case becomes even worse for women. Women are said to be twice highly at risk of depression as compared to men. This gets into the idea of ‘gender gap’ which is mostly a term used in economic and political sectors. But even in the medical sector, this gap persists, in the case of depression. It has found in a research that women in stress are more likely to have depression.
There are a few reasons why depression in women is a more common problem than in men:
Depression in Women: Causes
- Biological Factors: Women, as compared to men, go through more fluctuations in the hormones, during menstruation, childbirth and menopause which lead to women mental health issues. In addition to this, women might have stronger genetic predisposition to developing depression.
- Psychological Factors: Women are more ruminative than men and tend to over think about things more often than men, which can lead them to depression. Also, the way women are taught to invest in a relationship, which is to get more involved and take things more seriously, it is easier for them to be led to depression. Depression in women is a serious issue to be discussed upon.
- Sociological Factors: Women are often subjected to more responsibilities than men, and therefore get more stress. Living in a patriarchal society, fighting sexism, bearing the pressure of all the stereotypes and stigmas attached to various things a woman does, all of these contribute to the stress levels in a woman and often lead her to depression. This is a reason for a stressed women mental health.
There are also different types of depression in women than in men. The various kinds of depression in women are:
Depression in Women: Types
- Major Depression: Major Depression is a serious form of women’s health depression where a woman loses her ability of taking pleasure in things which she once found enjoyable. This kind of depression affects the woman’s day-to-day life and daily activities. It can affect from eating habits to sleeping habits to interpersonal relations. It can even affect on a women mental health.
- Postpartum Depression: This kind of depression happens right after the birth of a baby. The symptoms can be seen in some women from the beginning of the pregnancy and can last up to months after the baby is born. This may lead a women in stress.
- Persistent Depressive Disorder: This kind of depression in women is considered to be a milder form of major depression, where there can be episodes of major depression from time to time, and this kind of depression in women can last up to two to three years.
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder: This kind of depression starts around one week before the start of the menstrual cycle, and has common symptoms as major depression, but a milder version of it but this may increase women mental health issues.
Depression, as a disorder, differs in women and men on the basis of how they react to it. The ways in which men and women react to the illness, the way they talk about it, if they talk about it or not, everything counts in creating this difference.
Why Depression is More Prone to Women Than Men?
A few ways in which women and men react to depression are:
- Women are more likely to talk about their depression to other people and seek medical help as compared to men. This happens because men from a very young age are taught how to be ‘strong’ and emotionally distant, and therefore, having a mind-related illness is too ‘weak’ a thing to talk about. Many men fall under the pressure of this and become victims of these norms and constructs of the patriarchal society.
- Women are more likely to become brooders of their depression and continue to think about it for days together. Men, on the other hand, have a different way to cope up with depression and are more likely to get involved in substance abuse like alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, etc.
- Women are more likely to indulge in stress-eating than men. Stress-eating is a kind of a coping mechanism where a person tends to eat more to feel better about a situation or about them. This can take a women into some major mental health issues.
- Women are less likely to commit suicide as compared to men. This is because the signs of depression in men can go unnoticed by family, friends and even medical professionals for a very long time. Only when men reach the stage of severe depression is when people generally start to notice it, which sometimes, is too late.
Depression can sound like this huge mountain, which is very difficult to cross. But it is a disease, and like every disease even this has a solution and remedy. But first let us have a look at its symptoms. The symptoms of depression in women and men are: feelings of emptiness, hopelessness, despair, and sadness; Irritability, anxiousness, and guilt; feelings of exhaustion, severe tiredness; loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities; inability to concentrate or remember details; suicidal thoughts or attempts of suicide; sleep disturbances: sleeping too much or too little, insomnia; changes in appetite – eating too much or too little; physical symptoms – aches and pains, cramps, headaches, digestive issues, breast tenderness, bloating; lack of energy; feeling out of control
The most common ways to deal with depression are to take medication and go for regular therapy sessions. But these will help only in a biological and psychological way. Some basic routine changes can also help in coping with depression in women, like sharing your feelings with people, exercising regularly, meditating, getting enough sleep, giving yourself a break, participating in self-care activities, being close to nature and eating healthy.
Depression in women is a serious illness, but only an illness that can be cured through giving the person a coping environment and making some basic changes in our routine. If you know someone who needs help, please talk to them and if needed, seek medical help.