Women vs. Men: Common Causes and Reactions to Depression
Everyone goes through trying times in their lives that cause them to feel really down and out. The loss of a loved one or a significant decrease in finances, for example can cause a relatively positive person to become depressed. While feeling sad about the above circumstances are completely normal, prolonged periods of negative emotion can eventually take toll on the body. In some instances, women even turn to substances like drugs and alcohol as a means to cope. In turn, this increases the potential for becoming dependent or addicted.
Difference in Symptoms
While the general symptoms of depression are the same for both women and men, there can be some differences for women that should be noted. For instance, women are more likely to suffer from seasonal affective disorder which is a form of depression during the winter as a result of decreased sunlight. Women are also more likely to suffer from symptoms of atypical depression. This form of depression produces the exact opposite effects. Instead of losing weight, sleeping less often, and a decrease in appetite, women are more likely to experience excessive sleeping, binge eating, and weight gain. Below is a brief understanding of how depression might affect women verses men.
Women suffering from depression:
· Put blame on themselves
· Feelings of sadness and worthlessness
· Feeling slowed down
· Difficulties in setting boundaries
· Consistently talk about self doubt
· Self medicate with food
Men suffering from depression:
· Put the blame on others
· Express feelings of anger and inflated egos
· Like to create conflicts
· Often feel restless
· Feel that self doubt is a sign of weakness
· Self medicate with alcohol, sex, and television
Understanding the Causes of Depression
It is quite common to wonder how you started feeling depressed, and while in some cases it may be quite obvious, there are instances in which its rather complex. There are plenty of factors that can play into the cause of depression for a woman. However, below are a few of the most common:
· Premenstrual Issues – as the hormones fluctuate during a woman’s menstrual cycle it can cause an array of symptoms that are often referred to as premenstrual syndrome or PMS. However, women who have more severe PMS symptoms can find that it begins to complicate their daily lives. This in turn can lead to premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
· Pregnancy and Infertility – hormonal changes also occur during pregnancy and can also lead to depression. This is more likely in women that are already at a high risk of depression. Other pregnancy related issues such as a miscarriage, unplanned pregnancies, and the inability to get pregnant can also cause depression to sink in.
· Menopause – Women are considered to be high risk for depression right before and during menopause. The idea of not being able to conceive anymore on top of the increased fluctuation of the reproductive hormones can trigger depression.
· Harping on or reflecting on negative feelings – women are natural thinkers and while this can be a good thing, over thinking can really cause an issue. Women are more likely to dwell on their emotions. When there is an issue that causes sadness women often cry to try and relieve some tension, lull over why they’re depressed to begin with, and even discussing it amongst their friends. While it is good to find ways to cope with your emotions, too much dwelling can cause depression to stick around for the long haul.
· Overwhelming daily responsibilities – The modern woman wears the weight of the world on her shoulders. She’s taking care of children, maintaining a household, and going to work on the daily basis. Over time, this can begin to take a toll on them causing them to first become stressed and then depressed.
· Workplace stress or discrimination
· The demise of a relationship
· Death of a loved one
· Consistent financial issues
Now that you have a better understanding of how depression affects women vs. men you can have an easier time figuring out what to do. If you believe you have been depressed for a long period of time the best thing you can do for yourself is seek the help of a therapist. They can use various cognitive therapies to help you sort through your emotions and learn to deal with life’s circumstances in a different way.
For more information on women and depression, visit these sources below:
DualDiagnosis.org, Common Mental Health Issues Among Women, 2015. http://www.dualdiagnosis.org/mental-health-and-addiction/common-issues-women/
National Alliance on Mental Illness, Women and Depression, http://www2.nami.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Mental_Illnesses/Depression/Women_and_Depression/Women_and_Depression_Facts.htm