Depression is a very common disease worldwide, it is estimated that about 350 million people suffer from it, according to statistics World Health Organization. This pathology can become one of the most serious problems in healthcare, especially with its long-term manifestations in moderate and severe degrees.
Although depression affects both men and women, studies show that women are more likely to suffer from it. To clarify a little better why depression is more typical for women than for men, we have prepared this noteworthy article.
In general, there seems to be no difference in mental illness between men and women. However, depending on gender, differences in the distribution of some disorders are determined, showing that women are at double risk of getting anxiety disorders, somatic disorders and depression.
These data indicate a gender difference in terms of a number of the most common mental disorders. In addition, there are significant differences depending on the age of the patients. So, in the sample of young older women, namely from 30 to 40 years, this gap increases significantly.
Aspects Affecting Female Depression
A number of biological, psychological and social conditioning factors influence the development of depression. Some of them, such as genetic, for example, are difficult to change; however, it is undoubtedly possible to work with other aspects, and experts believe that it is necessary to identify them so that measures can be taken to correct them.
In the psychosocial aspect, according to experts, differences in gender roles and our cultural context have an impact in terms of different vulnerability for the two sexes to the development of depression. Traditionally, in our society, men are more focused on achieving their goals, both professional and personal. On the contrary, women are under pressure from society, which has placed on them the responsibility to take care of other people around them. As an example, the duty of reconciliation lies mainly with women. When this type of stress becomes excessive, its effect on a person can result in health problems.
Women’s Life Cycle and Depression
Throughout a woman’s life, various physiological changes occur that can affect her mental health.
Hormonal changes that occur during puberty may cause an increased risk of depression in some women. However, temporary mood swings caused by hormonal changes during this period of life are normal and do not cause depression by themselves.
There are factors that can play a role in the development of depression in women during puberty, such as, for example, aspects related to personality and attraction to the opposite sex, conflicts in the family or pressure to achieve good academic performance at school, etc.
More than 10% of women may develop postpartum depression, after they give birth to a child. This type of depression is associated not only with hormonal changes that occur in the postpartum period, but also due to other factors, such as complications that may have occurred during pregnancy and childbirth, responsibility for taking care of the child, or loneliness and lack of social support, as well as others.
Premenstrual syndrome may also be a determining factor in the development of depressive symptoms in some women. It has been found that cyclical changes in estrogen and other hormones can change the function of brain substances that control mood; however, this dependence is still not completely clear.
Finally, menopause also increases the risk of depression in older women, for this reason there are irregular fluctuations in hormonal levels during this period. Between the changes that occur after fluctuations during menopause, there is a significant decrease in estrogen levels.
However, as in other periods, not all women may develop depression, because in addition to natural changes in the body, the risk of depression is associated with other factors, such as heredity, other environmental factors and life circumstances.
Treatment of Depression
Consultation with by a mental health professional is the first step to treating depression. A specialist will analyze your case and, through a series of assessments, discard false diagnoses that may resemble depression in their symptoms.
As a rule, antidepressant treatment is effective for curbing depression. But at the same time, it is necessary to take a course lasting several weeks to be able to assess the effect. And even in this case, not all drugs will have the same effectiveness for all patients, because there are individual characteristics of reactions to antidepressants.
In addition to pharmacological treatment, psychotherapy is also effective in the treatment of depression, because it helps to form frameworks and positive habits for behavior, and also seeks to change those models that can contribute to a depressive state.
Currently, various studies are being conducted to develop new ways to treat depression most quickly and effectively.