There is a gender gap when it comes to many things and, depression is one of them. The incidence ofclinical depression in women is nearly two times higher than that of men. Approximately one in every five women will develop depression. Clinical depression is an illness that can occur at any age, but most commonly occurs in women during their childbearing years. Learning about the increased risk and how to identify depression symptoms in women can help sufferers take action before the situation worsens.
Causes of Clinical Depression in Women
Female depression is most commonly diagnosed between ages 20 and 51. Normal hormonal changes can cause depressed feelings and mood fluctuations but these hormone changes are not the only contributing factor to clinical depression experienced by women. Inherited traits, biological factors, and life experiences also contribute to this illness.
Girls typically go through puberty earlier than boys do, which may be one reason that girls develop depression at an earlier age. Aside from hormonal changes, puberty is associated with factors that can contribute to depression in females including increased pressure for achievement, parental conflicts, and emerging issues regarding identity and sexuality. Premenstrual syndrome may develop into premenstrual dysphoric disorder, a type of depression that requires treatment.
During pregnancy, dramatic changes in hormone levels can affect mood. Infertility, miscarriage, or an unwanted pregnancy can increase the risk of developing depression. The requirement to stop using antidepressant medications can increase depression symptoms in women. Work or other lifestyle changes experienced due to pregnancy and postpartum depression, which occurs after giving birth, may also contribute to clinical depression.
Signs of Clinical Depression in Women
Women experiencing depression exhibit several common symptoms and signs. These include ongoing feelings of guilt, sadness, or hopelessness and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy. Many women experience physical symptoms with no apparent cause, such as unexplained pain. Some find that their sleep patterns change significantly and they may experience constant fatigue despite sleeping too much. Thoughts of suicide are among the most serious symptoms and should be addressed immediately.
To get treatment, women should begin by consulting with their primary healthcare providers. Together, they can explore treatments that should be most effective. Traditional treatments involve psychological therapy and prescription drugs, but there are alternatives. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is one and a primary care doctor may make a referral to a specialist for this therapy. TMS facilities specialize in treating both men and women suffering from clinical depression.
Article content, © Kira Stein, MD, APC. | West Coast Life Center