Why Is Depression In Women More Common Than Depression In Men
Before adolescence, depression is rare and occurs at about the same rate in girls and boys. But with the start of puberty, a girl’s risk of having depression increases dramatically to twice that of boys.
Some experts believe that the higher chance of depression in women may be related to changes in hormone levels that occur throughout a woman’s life. These changes are evident during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, as well as after giving birth or having a miscarriage. In addition, the hormone fluctuations that come with each month’s menstrual cycle probably contribute to premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder, , a severe syndrome marked especially by depression, anxiety, and mood swings that happens the week before menstruation and interferes with daily life.
Baby Blues Vs Postpartum Depression: The Difference Between Baby Blues And Postpartum
It is important for women and their partners to know the signs and symptoms of the baby blues and postpartum depression before their baby is born, so they are aware of all the changes that may affect them after their baby arrives.
Most women experience the baby blues for a short period, while others experience PPD, which is more severe, persistent and requires treatment.
Here is how to recognize the difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression:
- You will feel weepy and emotional.
- Your symptoms start around a couple of days after giving birth and last no longer than two weeks.
- You may also experience mood swings, irritability, anxiety, and struggle with your focus and concentration for short periods throughout your day.
- Your symptoms last more than two weeks, are severe and affect your ability to care for yourself and new baby and/or other children.
- Feelings of anxiety, sadness, irritability, guilt, lack of interest in your baby, changes to your sleep and diet, concentration and focus issues, thoughts of hopelessness or harming yourself and others, raging thoughts, fatigue and excessive worry.
- PPD often emerges weeks after giving birth, rather than days, but it is not unusual for it to occur earlier.
Theyve Been Conditioned To Seek Bad Boys
Women today are never happy with their relationship with men because they constantly seek bad boys with dark triad traits only to get hurt and take their anger out on other ordinary men. This is what happens when you allow women to have sexual freedom in a feminist culture. How many children are growing up without a father because of bad decisions made by their lousy mothers?
Researchers At The National Institute Of Mental Health And Across The Country Are Dedicated To Womens Mental Health Research
Researchers continue to study depression to improve the way this medical condition is diagnosed and treated. For example, NIMH researchers are currently working to understand how and why changes in reproductive hormones trigger mood disorders, including postpartum depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and perimenopausal depression.
NIMH scientists are conducting a large number of research studies with patients and healthy volunteers to better understand why some women are at higher risk than others, and how they can translate these findings into new treatments or new uses of existing treatments.
Why Are Women More Depressed Than Men
- Depression is predicted to be the second leading cause of global disability burden by 2020. It is twice as common in women.
- Gender-specific risk could be a likely cause. This includes: gender-based violence, socio-economic disadvantage, income inequality, low social status and rank, and responsibility for the care of others.
- The World Health Organization says more research is needed.
We are familiar with statistics that quote the higher prevalence of suicide among men versus women. We also know that the overall rates of psychiatric disorder, like bipolar, are almost identical for men and women. But there are significant gender differences in the patterns of mental illness and it seems that women suffer more from depression than men.
Mental health is now less and less stigmatized as society confronts the issue’s impact on healthcare, workplaces and economies. There is increasing publicity around celebrity mental-health problems, amplified under the spotlight of social media.
In Britain about 11% of workers sick days are because of mental-health and sufferers who do manage to get to work are usually less productive. The cost of disability payments to those unable to work at all is nearly 3% of GDP in Europe.
Possible causes for clinical depression include a combination of biological, psychological and social sources of distress.
The report says,
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How New Dads Can Help
New fathers can help by stepping up and helping with the babys care, coordinating outside help from family and friends, giving emotional support to their partner, and making sure the new mother is eating and sleeping. While new fathers can be a great support to their partner, it is important for them to take care of their own needs as well.
If you suspect your partner might have PPD, dont wait to get help. There are warning signs and symptoms of PPD, but the number one sign is not acting like themselves.
If you feel that something is wrong and has been going on longer than two weeks, ask your partner about what they are feeling and encourage them to get help.
What Are The Symptoms Of Mania In Women
Mania is a highly energized state with elevated mood that can occur in bipolar disorder. Moods in bipolar disorder swing over the course of days or weeks or months from the lows of depression to the highs of mania. Even though mania is an elevated mood, it is serious and needs medical assessment and treatment.
The symptoms of mania include:
- Abnormally elevated mood
- Poor judgment that can lead to risk-taking behavior
- Inappropriate social behavior
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How Does Depression In Women Differ From Depression In Men
Depression in women differs from depression in men in several ways:
- Depression in women may happen earlier, last longer, be more likely to come back, be more likely to be tied to stressful life events, and be more sensitive to seasonal changes.
- Women are more likely to have guilty feelings and attempt suicide, although they actually take their own lives less often than men.
- Depression in women is more likely to be linked to anxiety disorders, especially panic and phobic symptoms, and eating disorders.
Genetic And Medical History Risk Factors
Women with one or more family members who have suffered from postpartum depression have a greater risk of developing it as well.
Those who have struggled with mood disorders like depression or anxiety or more significant mental illnesses like bipolar disorder are 30% to 35% more likely to face postpartum depression in their lifetime. Women who have experienced postpartum depression in previous childbirths are also much more likely to experience it again.
Recent studies have shown that there is a possible genetic factor in developing postpartum depression. According to Johns Hopkins researchers, there are possibly two different genetic alterations that, when present during pregnancy, may predict whether a woman will develop postpartum depression. These genetic alterations were discovered through blood tests.
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Physical Causes Of Postpartum Depression
It is most commonly believed that postpartum depression stems from the drastic hormonal changes that take place during and after childbirth. Decreased estrogen and progesterone levels place the body into a sudden hormonal shift. This is thought to trigger emotional repercussions.
However, many non-depressed women experience the same drop in hormones and have the same estrogen levels as women who do have PPD.
Sleep deprivation may also play a large role in causing postpartum depression. Following childbirth, women often do not get enough sleep due to their new responsibilities caring for their child. A lack of sleep can greatly impact how a woman functions, feels and handles situations. Without proper and consistent sleep, women may start to exhibit signs of postpartum depression.
Is There Anything Else I Should Do
If you are feeling any of the symptoms listed above, it is very important to tell someone. The early days of taking care of a new baby can be hard. Youre probably not sleeping much as you try to meet your babys needs around the clock. Find a friend, family member or someone else you trust who can look after your baby for short periods while you get a break. If people offer help, accept it.
There are many support programs for new mothers. Talk to your doctor, nurse, midwife, or contact your local public health office for a listing of services in your area.
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Tip : Get A Daily Dose Of Sunlight
Sunlight can help boost serotonin levels and improve your mood. Aim for at least 15 minutes of sunlight a day. Remove sunglasses and use sunscreen as needed.
- Take a walk on your lunch break, have your coffee outside, enjoy an al fresco meal, people-watch on a park bench, or spend time gardening.
- Double up on the benefits of sunlight by exercising outside. Try hiking, walking in a local park, or playing golf or tennis with a friend.
- Increase the amount of natural light in your home and workplace by opening blinds and drapes and sitting near windows.
- If you live somewhere with little winter sunshine, try using a light therapy box.
Who Struggles With Major Depression
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that only between 1 and 5% of older adults living in the community struggle with major depression. Those estimates rise to 13.5% for people who require more constant care and 11.5% for older hospital patients.
Older women are more likely to suffer from mood and anxiety disorders. Older men tend to develop more substance abuse problems, Dr. Havemann says.
However, the CDC reports that less than 30% of older adults who need treatment actually receive it.
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If I Am Taking Antidepressants Can I Breastfeed My Baby
Breastfeeding provides many health benefits for babies. It also helps mothers and babies bond. If you are taking antidepressants, small amounts will come out through your breast milk. But studies have shown that children exposed to these drugs through breast milk have not had problems.
Even if you are taking antidepressants, you can breastfeed your baby for as long as you wish. Stopping an antidepressant during breastfeeding may cause the depression to return.
Are Some Women More At Risk Of Postpartum Depression
Yes. You may be more at risk of postpartum depression if you:3
- Have a personal history of depression or bipolar disorder
- Have a family history of depression or bipolar disorder
- Do not have support from family and friends
- Were depressed during pregnancy
- Lose your appetite
- Have trouble sleeping
The baby blues usually go away in 3 to 5 days after they start. The symptoms of postpartum depression last longer and are more severe. Postpartum depression usually begins within the first month after childbirth, but it can begin during pregnancy or for up to a year after birth.5
Postpartum depression needs to be treated by a doctor or nurse.
Tip : Challenge Negative Thinking
Depression puts a negative spin on everything, including the way you see yourself and your expectations for the future. When these types of thoughts overwhelm you, its important to remember that this is a symptom of your depression and these irrational, pessimistic attitudesknown as cognitive distortionsarent realistic.
Women also tend to ruminate when were depressed, perhaps spending hours trying to figure out why were feeling this way. However, rumination can maintain depression or even make it worse. You cant break out of this pessimistic mind frame by just telling yourself to think positive. Often, its part of a lifelong pattern of thinking thats become so automatic youre not even completely aware of it.
You can develop a more balanced way of thinking by identifying the type of negative thoughts that are contributing to your depression, and then learning to replace them with a more balanced way of thinking.
Other Common Causes Of Depression Include:
- Loneliness and isolation a lack of social support.
- Family history of depression.
- Early childhood trauma or abuse.
- Alcohol or drug abuse.
- Family responsibilities such as caring for children, spouse, or aging parents.
- Experiencing discrimination at work or not reaching important goals, losing or changing a job, retirement, or embarking on military service.
- Death of a loved one or other stressful life event that leaves you feeling useless, helpless, alone, or profoundly sad.
Compensating for biological and hormonal causes of depression
Because biology and hormone fluctuations can play such a prominent role in affecting a womens depression, it may be helpful to make use of more coping strategies at hormonal low points during the month. Try keeping a log of where you are in your menstrual cycle and how you are feelingphysically and emotionally. This way you will be able to better anticipate when you need to compensate for the hormonal lows and reduce or avoid the resulting symptoms.
It is important to remember that depression, at any stage in life and for any reason, is serious and should be taken seriously. Just because youve been told that your symptoms are a normal part of being a woman does not mean you have to suffer in silence. There are many things you can do to treat your depression and feel better.
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Depression: What You Need To Know As You Age
If youre one of the more than 14.8 million American adults who experiences major depression, you may feel so bad that you cant get out of bed, be around the people you love or participate in activities that you usually enjoy. Actually, there are more than 50 different symptoms of major depression, ranging from the well-knowncrying and sadnessto those you might never associate with depression, such as anger, workaholism and back pain.
Depression is a disease that affects every aspect of a persons life, not just mood, says Johns Hopkins expert Andrew Angelino, M.D., Chair of Psychiatry at Howard County General Hospital. The World Health Organization predicts that by 2020, depression will be the second-leading cause of disability in the world, just behind cardiovascular disease.
People who are depressed are far more likely to have other chronic medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease, back problems, arthritis, diabetes, and high blood pressure, and to have worse outcomes. Untreated depression can even affect your immune response to some vaccines.
Depression is not just debilitating it can be deadly. An estimated one out of five people with depression will attempt suicide at some point.
The Gender Gap: Why Do Women Get Depressed Twice As Often As Men
Over the last decade, the incidence of depression has risen exponentially. It is an issue that has become an epidemic, affecting more than 264 million people of all ages worldwide.
But what many people fail to realise is that this is not a gender-equal issue. In fact, women are almost twice as likely to experience depression than men.
But why is this the case?
And more importantly, what can you do about it?
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What Can I Do At Home To Feel Better While Seeing A Doctor For Postpartum Depression
Here are some ways to begin feeling better or getting more rest, in addition to talking to a health care professional:
- Rest as much as you can. Sleep when the baby is sleeping.
- Dont try to do too much or to do everything by yourself. Ask your partner, family, and friends for help.
- Make time to go out, visit friends, or spend time alone with your partner.
- Talk about your feelings with your partner, supportive family members, and friends.
- Talk with other mothers so that you can learn from their experiences.
- Join a support group. Ask your doctor or nurse about groups in your area.
- Dont make any major life changes right after giving birth. More major life changes in addition to a new baby can cause unneeded stress. Sometimes big changes cant be avoided. When that happens, try to arrange support and help in your new situation ahead of time.
It can also help to have a partner, a friend, or another caregiver who can help take care of the baby while you are depressed. If you are feeling depressed during pregnancy or after having a baby, dont suffer alone. Tell a loved one and call your doctor right away.
Causes Of Postnatal Depression
The cause of postnatal depression is not completely clear.
There are a number of things that may make you more likely to have postnatal depression. These include:
- a history of mental health problems, particularly depression, earlier in life
- a history of mental health problems during pregnancy
- having no close family or friends to support you
- a difficult relationship with your partner
- recent stressful life events, such as a bereavement
- physical or psychological trauma, such as domestic violence
- having the “baby blues”
Even if you do not have any of these, having a baby is a life-changing event that can sometimes trigger depression.
It often takes time to adapt to becoming a new parent. Looking after a small baby can be stressful and exhausting.
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