July 13, 2024

Depression Symptoms in Women

Many women may suffer from depression and not even know that they have this disease. There are different factors that can cause the onset of depression. Depression symptoms in women can become very severe if they are not treated. Although men and women both suffer from this condition, women are twice as likely to develop depression as men are.

Although depression can affect a woman at any age, it is more prevalent in girls once they have reached puberty. Before puberty, girls have about the same risk of developing clinical depression as boys have.

While not every woman will experience the same signs there are certain symptoms that many females have in common.

Common Depression Symptoms in Women

Feelings of Sadness and Hopelessness

A person will often feel sad all of the time when they are depressed.  Their energy and mood level will tend to be much lower than normal.

Sleep Disorders

A woman with depression may develop a sleep disorder.  She may want to sleep all of the time or, conversely, she may have insomnia and not be able to sleep at all.

Decreased Sex Drive

A woman who is depressed may experience a reduced sex drive and not want to engage in sexual activity.

Withdrawal or Loss of Enjoyment in Normal Activities

If a woman is depressed this may manifest in a loss of enjoyment in her normal activities or pleasurable pursuits.  She may withdraw.  She may also have trouble dealing with certain types of social events.

Poor Judgment

Some women who have depression show the symptom of poor judgment.  For example, they may engage in self harming behavior.


Irritability, anxiety and/or mood swings can also be a symptom that a women is suffering from depression.

Thoughts of Suicide

Some women who are depressed entertain thoughts of suicide.  If you experience this symptom GET HELP IMMEDIATELY.   Contact your doctor or a suicide hotline (1-800-SUICIDE) for assistance.  Treatment is available for you.  It is important that you get help as about 15% of all depressed people commit or attempt suicide.

These are just a few of the common symptoms of depression in women.  Not every woman will suffer from all of the symptoms.  A woman may only have one or two of the symptoms while other women may have more.  The symptoms manifest in ways just as unique as the women who have them.

It may be hard for someone to determine if a friend or family member has depression because each individual can have different symptoms.  It may be very hard to notice the symptoms at first even if a person has already had experience dealing with depression in a different family member or friend since the symptoms can vary so greatly.

Risk Factors for Depression in Women

Major Life Changing Event

One of these factors may include a major life-changing event that has caused stress on a person. For example, a loss of a very close family member can be a reason for someone to become depressed.

Pregnancy – Birth of a Child

Sometimes, the only time a woman may experience depression is before and/or after the birth of her child.  After the delivery of a child, a woman may develop a type of depression known as postpartum depression. Many women may feel embarrassed and do not want to seek professional medical advice, but postpartum depression is very common for a woman to develop and can be treated very easily.

depression in womenHistory of Mood Disorders

Women who have a history of mood disorders may be more likely to experience depression. Many doctors believe that the reason women have a higher risk of developing mania and depression is because of the various fluctuations women have in their hormones. This may be why the rate of depression in women is about twice as high as the rate of depression in men.

Life Passage

Menopause is another life-changing event that can cause the onset of depression symptoms in women. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is also associated with a woman having depression.


Some things that can bring depression on may be added stress either at work or at home with their family.   Financial instability is another thing that can lead to depression.  This added stress can become the start of the road to depression.

Common Type of Depression in Women

There are different types of depression that a person can experience.  One type of depression is the major depressive disorder, also called clinical depression. This type of depression can really have an impact on a person’s normal activities throughout the day and is what most people think of when they think of depression.  When a woman is clinically depressed, she may feel sad and hopeless, and not want to eat or engage in any of her normal activities.

Help for Depression is Available

If you feel like you or a family member may be suffering from depression, it’s important for you to contact your doctor.  Most doctors will usually recommend antidepressant medication and/or therapy, but in some cases it may be that these treatments are not necessary and other treatments will be prescribed.

Antidepressant Treatment

As with any medication, there are side effects of antidepressants.  Research shows that they work for between 30-45% of the people who take them.

If you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, you will need to discuss the issue of whether or not antidepressants are right for your situation with your health care provider.  There has been research though that shows that most of the depression medication does not pose any type of risk to the unborn child but some people think that antidepressants can harm an unborn child.  Check with your doctor to see what is right for you.

Therapy Treatment

This is usually talk therapy with a psychologist or licensed professional.  It can be done in a private setting with you and the counselor or it can be done in support group.  If your doctor believes therapy will be helpful for you, then you can work with him or her to determine which type of therapy best suits your needs.

The Importance of Getting Help

The suicide rate is high among people who leave their depression untreated.

If you or someone you know has had any thoughts of suicide, they need to seek professional help for this immediately.  Your doctor or local health care provider can help provide the necessary treatment.

A woman may also choose to call a suicide hot line.  The national suicide hotline’s number is 1-800-SUICIDE and 1-800-273-TALK (8255))  They are available 24/7.  It is free to call them and your confidentiality is assured.

If the woman is in a larger city, she may also be near a depression health center where the doctors have a lot of experience in treating the symptoms of clinical or major depression.

With the proper treatment – whether via medication, psychotherapy or something else – it is possible for a woman to manage her depression and go on to lead a happy and normal life.  It is very important to know that no matter how hopeless your depression seems to be, there is help for your depression available.

Famous Women with Depression

Many famous women have suffered major depression at some point in their lives.  This list includes Marie Osmond, Brooke Shields, Courtney Cox, J.K. Rowling, Delta Burke, Halle Berry, Sheryl Crowe, and Ashley Judd to name just a few.


It is important that everyone know the symptoms of depression in women.  If you suspect you or a woman in your life is suffering from depression, seek help immediately.   Treatment is available.  If left untreated, the depression can get worse and/or lead to extreme consequences.  Help for depression is available.  You deserve to feel better.


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