Looking for signs of depression in women

November 12, 2012

Looking for signs of depression in women

Depression is a wide and complex condition and the causes, symptoms and signs of depression in women can all be very different that the ones that occur in men. Women are more likely to suffer from depression than men are, which may be due to a number of factors including the hormonal changes that women regularly go through, social factors or as a response to stress. Depression is a treatable disorder but when it goes undiagnosed it can have an extreme impact on the individuals career, relationships, social life and general well being. Making yourself aware of some of the causes and signs of depression in women can help you to minimise the risk and know how to treat it if necessary. Some of the most common signs of depression in women and men include sleeping more or sleeping less then usual, changes in appetite and weight, difficulty concentrating, feeling guilty, hopeless or worthless, a loss of interest in enjoyable activities and recurrent thought about death or suicide. There are some differences in the symptoms and signs of depression in women compared to those of men. For instance where women suffering from depression tend to blame themselves, men will blame others. Where women will feel scared and anxious, men will feel guarded and suspicous. Women may feel nervous and slow paced, where as men may feel agitated and restless. There are also certain kinds of depression that are more common in women such as seasonal affective disorder, which is when depression occurs in the winter months whilst there is a lack of sunlight.

The signs of depression in women can be brought on by a number of factors but most of them can be sub-categorised into three groups; biological, psychological and social. More specifically biological factors usually come down to hormone changes or imbalances often due to premenstrual problems, pregnancy, infertility and the menopause. Postpartum depression can occur in new mothers and is often referred to as the baby blues. Normally it will have passed by a couple of weeks but in some cases it can last longer and be severe. Psychological causes of depression in women may be caused by stress and it has been proven that women produce more stress hormones than men do making the female reaction to stress more extreme. Women are also more likely to have low-self esteem when it comes to their bodies making females going through puberty a contributing factor.

Treatment is usually the same in women as it is for men with the most successful being a combination of antidepressant medications and psychotherapy. Some treatments that are more specific to women will address connections between symptoms and the woman’s reproductive cycle. Another thing to consider is whether or the symptoms of depression in women are in fact a side effect of birth control medication or hormone replacement therapy. Another difference between treatment for women and men is that women will usually be started on a lower dose of antidepressants. This is due to biological differences and it is also important to note that women are more likely to experience side effects so should be monitored more closely.

There are a number of things that women can do to help themselves along side the recommended treatment from the doctor of mental health care professional. Simple lifestyle changes can often make a positive difference such as eating healthily, taking up exercise and creating time to relax. Also try to get around 8 hours of sleep a night, as too much or too little can have a negative effect. Sunlight also helps so try to get outside for a short period of time every day. Finally try to stay social as although you may not feel like it, socialising rather than isolating yourself will help you to feel better.

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