Most people deal with depression at some point in their lives. Depression is not the same when it comes to genders.Depression, the second-leading cause of global disability (source - Plos Medicine journal), has rates of incidence affecting women more than men.
From reproductive hormones to social pressures, recent studies have concluded that the female response to stress is more than that of men. Not only are women more prone to depression as compared to their male counterparts, they are also more vulnerable to bipolar disorder, seasonal effective disorder and dysthymia (or long-term depression).
Why are Women More Vulnerable to Depression?
The rate of depression is similar in girls and boys until adolescence. With the onset of puberty, a female’s risk of developing depression increases. Health experts blame the changes in hormone levels that occur throughout a woman's life for depression.
Reproductive, genetic, biological, interpersonal, psychological and personality characteristics contribute to depression in women (National Institutes of Health). Working women with kids and those who are single parents are more likely to be marred by stress.
Other factors that contribute to depression in women are:
- A family history of depression
- History of mood disorders in early years
- Lack of social support
- Psychological and social stress, such as relationship stress, separation or divorce
- Physical or sexual abuse
- Drug abuse
Signs of Depression
- Loss of interest in the activities you used to enjoy
- Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness
- Sleep disturbance
- Appetite loss
- Significant weight changes
- Lack of energy
Read: How much sadness is too much?
Lifestyle Changes to Deal with Depression
- Aerobic exercises raise the level of serotonin, which is beneficial for enhancing mood
- Be social to get over the thoughts of being depressed. You can discuss your problems or feelings with your family members or those you trust
- Get involved in something that you really like doing. It boosts self-esteem and eases stress
- Practice meditation; it helps the release the mind from tension
- Pay special attention to food choices. When you eat something that you like, it may raise your spirits
Seek Professional Advice
- Recognise depression: If you feel your symptoms are getting worse and you cannot take it any longer, you must call your doctor for help
- Get diagnosed: See a therapist; talk openly with him/her so that they get to the root cause of the illness. The information you provide will help them to define your treatment plan. It is important to let your doctor know what you are actually feeling. If you want to take better decisions about your health care, you need to work in coordination with them
- Treatment: You may be asked to see through a medication course or pursue a therapy, based on causes and symptoms of depression. If there are biological reasons behind your depression, antidepressants or hormone therapy may be in order. On the other hand, you may need a therapy combined with medications if the cause is psychological
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