Women are more likely to have depression than men

Psychologically: Women are more deliberative than men, that is, they tend to think about things more-which, though a very good thing, may also predispose them to developing depression. In contrast, men are more likely to react to difficult times with stoicicism, anger, or alcohol or drug misuse. Also, women are generally more invested in relationships than men. Relationship problems are likely to affect them more, which makes them more likely to develop depression. 

Biologically: Compared to men, women may have a stronger genetic predisposition to developing depression. And women are much more subjected to fluctuating hormone levels. This is especially the case around the time of childbirth and at the menopause, both of which are associated with an increased risk of developing depression.

Culture and Life situations
The higher rate of depression in women isn't due to biology alone. Your life situation and cultural stressors play a role, too. Although these stressors also occur in men, it's usually at a lower rate. Factors that may add to a woman's risk include:

Unequal power and status. Women are much more likely to live in poverty than men. Poverty and limited earning potential bring with them many concerns and stressors, including uncertainty about the future and less access to community and health care resources. Minority women might face added stress from racial discrimination. These issues can make you feel as if you don't have control over your life and can contribute to feelings of negativity and low self-esteem, which all increase your risk of depression.

Work overload. Often women work outside the home and still handle domestic responsibilities. Many women find themselves dealing with the challenges and stress that can accompany single parenthood, such as working multiple jobs to make ends meet. Also, women may be caregivers sandwiched between generations — caring for their children while also caring for sick or older family members. These kinds of stressors can make you more vulnerable to depression.

Sexual or physical abuse. Women who were emotionally, physically or sexually abused as children or adults are more likely to experience depression at some point in their lives than those who weren't abused. Women are more likely than men to experience sexual abuse.

  • Signs of Depression
  • Talk to your healthcare provider if you have some of these signs for more than two weeks: 
  • Feel Sad 
  • Sleep too little or all the time 
  • Feel tired all the time 
  • Feel nervous or cranky 
  • Cry a lot 
  • Eat too much or all the time 
  • Have no interest in eating 
  • Feel guilty 
  • Feel hopeless 
  • Have trouble paying attention 
  • Notice that things that used to make you happy, don’t make you happy anymore 
  • Think about death or try to kill yourself 

Other conditions that occur with depression
Women with depression often have other mental health conditions that need treatment as well, such as:
Anxiety. Anxiety commonly occurs along with depression in women.
Eating disorders. There's a strong link between depression in women and eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.
Drug or alcohol abuse. Some women with depression also have some form of substance abuse or dependence. Substance abuse can worsen depression and make it harder to treat.

Identify depression and seeking treatment
Although depression might seem overwhelming, there's effective treatment. Even severe depression often can be successfully treated. Seek help if you have any signs and symptoms of depression, such as:
  • Ongoing feelings of sadness, guilt or hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in things you once enjoyed
  • Significant changes in your sleep pattern, such as falling or staying asleep or sleeping too much
  • Fatigue, or unexplained pain or other physical symptoms without an apparent cause
  • Changes in appetite leading to significant weight loss or weight gain
  • Feeling as though life isn't worth living, or having thoughts of suicide
If needed, your primary care provider can refer you to a mental health provider who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental illness, such as a psychiatrist.
Remember, depression is both common and treatable. If you think you are depressed, don't hesitate to seek help.

Antidepressants work to normalize naturally occurring brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, notably serotonin and norepinephrine. Other antidepressants work on the neurotransmitter dopamine. Scientists studying depression have found that these particular chemicals are involved in regulating mood, but they are unsure of the exact ways in which they work.

The newest and most popular types of antidepressant medications are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and include:

  • fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • citalopram(Celexa)
  • sertraline (Zoloft)
  • paroxetine (Paxil)
  • escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • fluvoxamine (Luvox)

Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are similar to SSRIs and include:
  • venlafaxine (Effexor)
  • duloxetine (Cymbalta)

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