Why do women experience depression more than men? We don’t have a definitive answer yet. But we do know the following issues are factors to be considered when diagnosing depression.
Hormonal fluctuations. It’s possible that monthly cyclical changes in estrogen, progesterone and other hormones disrupt the function of brain chemicals such as serotonin, which controls mood. Just think of what women live through – Puberty, PMS, possibly Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), Pregnancy and Postpartum Depression, Perimenopause and Menopause. All of these are accompanied with wildly fluctuating hormones, which can trigger depression.
Heredity. A British research team recently isolated a gene, the chromosome 3p25-26, in more than 800 families with recurrent depression. Scientists believe 40 percent of those with depression may be traced to a genetic link. The American Journal of Psychiatry reports on one study that found that women had a 42 percent chance of hereditary depression, while men had only a 29 percent chance.
Inadequate coping skills. Life stressors are associated with a higher risk of depression. And if women haven’t learned to successful cope with stress, they can feel powerless, which often contributes toward depression. Some of these stressors are:
- Relationship problems. Conflict with parents, spouse and children.
- Lack of social support. Feeling all alone.
- Social and economic inequalities. Living in poverty, being uncertain about the future, racial discrimination and having less access to community resources are all issues that can cause low self-esteem and lack of control.
- Work overload. Women are juggling a career and home responsibilities. Many women are single parents, working multiple jobs to make ends meet. Plus they may be caring for sick or aging parents.
- Abuse. Women are more likely than men to experience sexual abuse. And being emotionally, physically or sexually abused raises the likelihood of depression.
Depression is NOT a normal way to live. It’s very treatable and you can lead a happier life. Please seek help if you have any physical signs and psychological symptoms of depression. Women with depression often have other mental health conditions such as: anxiety, ADHD, head injuries, Bipolar Disorder and ASD.
If you think you’re depressed, please don’t hesitate to seek professional help. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment.
Read more on my website: Depression and Stress.