Depression is a serious disorder that affects almost 15 million people a year. Statistics show that women are nearly twice as likely to have depression than men, no matter what their ethnicity or socio-economic status is. Plus, women often experience the symptoms of depression differently than men.
For example, women typically blame themselves, whereas men blame others. Women may feel anxious and fearful, while men can be testy and irritable.
Another difference between men and women suffering from depression is how they self-medicate. Women often turn to food, friends, and misguided “love.” Men, on the other hand, will use alcohol, TV, and/or sex.
A combination of factors can cause depression such as hormonal, environmental, or psychological issues. Some types of depression are genetically predisposed to run in families, although depression can occur in individuals without having it in the family history. Other causes may be:
- Anxiety or trauma
- Abuse – whether it’s physical, sexual or emotional
- Co-existing disorders such as bipolar
- Substance abuse
- Divorce or death of a loved one
- Side effects from certain medications
Signs and Symptoms
Of course, no two women are alike and each one will present different symptoms regarding her battle with depression. Some of those might be:
- Changes in appetite and weight
- Lack of energy
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Suicidal thoughts
- Difficulty focusing or concentrating
- Persistently sad and/or excessive crying
- Loss of interest in activities such as being with family and friends or having sex with a partner.
- Chronic pain or illness
The good news is there is help for women who suffer from depression that includes a combination of medication, cognitive behavior therapy, and support groups that can help you overcome depression and get your life back on track. Start by consulting with a qualified mental health professional who can provide insight and help you work toward specific goals to bring balance back into your life.
You can also take additional proactive steps by living a healthy lifestyle. This includes starting the day by eating breakfast and continuing with healthy meals and snacks throughout the day. You should also reduce alcohol and nicotine, and get 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
Get moving by going for a walk down the street or around the park. Often, just a change of scenery can improve your outlook on life. Maintaining a light exercise regimen such as aerobics or yoga can also have a positive effect on how you feel overall.