Women are more likely to develop depression, a common but serious mental health problem that alters the way one thinks and affects normal functioning. Depression has been recognized as one of the most serious mental health problems that can affect women, especially during childbearing and childrearing age.
Approximately 12 million American women are diagnosed with clinical depression each year. As per the National Survey data, about one in 10 women aged between 18 and 44 years reported symptoms of major depression in the past year. Moreover, about one in every eight women is likely to experience clinical depression during her lifetime.
Young women aged between 14 and 25 years have over two times more prevalence of depression than men do, in the same age group. The high prevalence of depression in women may be attributed to displaying more sensitivity to interpersonal relationships. Moreover, some specific types of depression-related illnesses, such as postpartum depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and postmenopausal depression and anxiety tend to make women more vulnerability to depression.
The biggest challenge in managing depression among women is that the problem remains misdiagnosed in approximately 30 percent to 50 percent cases, with around 70 percent women receiving prescriptions for antidepressants without proper diagnosis and monitoring.
Psychological factors affect women more than men, as women tend to be more emotional and more likely to ruminate or entertain negative thoughts during episodes of depression.
Psychological triggers for depression in women
While there may be many specific causes for women to experience depressive symptoms, these common triggers may affect most women.
Overwhelming stress at home, work, or school: Stress has been found to have an adverse effect on women’s mental health, increasing the risk of depression. It is further elevated by the way their bodies respond to stress. A woman’s physiological system produces more stress hormones than a man’s does. Further, the female sex hormone progesterone interferes with the stress hormone system and prevents it from turning it off automatically, as it happens in men.
Body image issues: 42 percent of girls and young women feel that the most negative part about being a female is the pressure to look attractive while about one third and half of young girls are engaged in dieting or binge eating fearing that they would become fat.
Women who have a negative body image may develop low self-esteem, feeling inferior, and low satisfaction in life, which may increase their risk for developing depression, anxiety or eating disorders.
Focusing on and persisting with negative feelings: According to research studies, women’s tendency to ruminate more increases their vulnerability to develop depression. Rumination refers to paying repetitive and passive attention to the symptoms of distress and looking to find the causes and possible consequences of these symptoms.
Coping with depression
Depression is a serious mental health problem, which requires medical help. However, some simple lifestyle changes including regular exercising, eating healthy food, getting adequate rest, avoiding substance use, and avoiding the urge to isolate, may help improve quality of life while having a positive impact on treatment outcome.
If you or a loved one is battling depression or any other mental illness, contact the 24/7 Recovery Helpline immediately by calling our 24/7 helpline – 855-441-4405. 24/7 Recovery Helpline can connect you with multiple behavioral health centers that offer comprehensive evidence-based treatment plans for patients dealing with different mental health disorders. Chat online with our experts available 24/7 to know more.