October 17, 2017

Signs of Depression in Women – The 5 Most Common Signs

Depression is a disease that can really wreak havoc on a person’s life.  Unfortunately, statistics show that women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression as their male counterparts.  Professionals have come up with a plethora of reasons as to why this is the case.  To begin with, one must know what the signs of depression are in women.

The 5 Most Common Signs of Depression in Women

The five most common signs of depression in women include the following:

Overall Depressed or Sad mood

Generally when a woman has an unexplainable feeling of sadness which hangs like a cloud over her days, she is exhibiting one of the biggest signs of depression in women.

Change of Eating Habits

This can describe a woman who doesn’t have any desire to eat or it can also describe a person who suddenly begins to eat more food than is normal for her.  Food is often an item which can be controlled when a person otherwise feels out of control, making it an easy sign to spot depression in women.

Change of Sleeping Habits

When a woman is depressed she may see a distinct change in her sleeping habits.  Just as with her eating patterns, a woman may sleep too much or too little.  For example, she may have racing thoughts which keep her from falling asleep at night.  Conversely, a woman may sleep longer than usual due to her energy stores being depleted by the depression.

Reduced Energy Level

There is generally a much lower energy level than normal in a woman who is dealing with depression.  A woman in a depressed state may feel as though she doesn’t have the energy to complete the normal activities of her day to day life.

Inability to Concentrate

Many researches believe that changes in brain chemicals produce memory issues as well as a lack of concentration which is often a common sign of depression in women.   When a woman is depressed often she is unable to focus her attention on any one place for very long or she has trouble remembering things she normally remembers.  This lack of concentration may lead to problems in a patient’s professional and personal life.

Difference Between Depression in Men and Women

While men and women both share certain depression symptoms in common such as lack of interest in normal activities, fatigue and changes in eating and sleep patterns, some of the main signs are different between the genders.

While women generally exhibit the common depression symptoms of sadness, feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness and guilt, men often experience depression differently.  Men often manifest depression with anger, hostility and aggressiveness.

Additionally, what is different is the frequency at which these symptoms will be experience by a woman versus with a man.  Researchers believe that depression occurs twice as often in women than men.

There are also marked differences between how women and  men view depression based on the way they see the world.  A woman will blame herself, while a man will likely blame someone other than themselves.  Women will feel at ease discussing feelings of doubt and despair, while a men will feel weak if they do the same.  A woman will use love, food and friends to self-medicate, but a man will often use sports, alcohol and sports.

Possible Causes of Depression in Women

Hormones

Differences in the hormones of women are one likely reason for an increased instance of depression when compared to men.  A woman’s reproductive years directly coincide with the age she is more likely to be when diagnosed with depression.

Depressed WomanAlso, it is well known that women are prone to having mood disorders during their time of menstruation.  Menstruation is also known to have an effect on neurotransmitters in the brain and the circadian rhythms due to the impact of estrogen and progesterone released by the woman during this time of the month.

On top of the reproductive years, where pregnancy and menstruation can cause hormonal changes, premenopause and menopause are also possible causes for depression in women.

Psychological Reasons

In addition to the biological causes for depression in women listed above, there are also psychological reasons which can lead to depression.  Stress and the inability to manage it in a way that is beneficial to their well being are reasons for depression in women.

Gender roles in society also appear to have a major impact on why women are more likely to be susceptible to depression.  Women are the nurturers in a society and as such they are wired to be sensitive to the wants and needs of others.  This often leads to a greater need to please others, an issue most men don’t have.  Experts believe this difference in the way men and women are socialized plays a huge part in explaining why instances of depression is higher among women.

Treatment Options for Depression in Women

Psychotherapy

Because women tend to show their emotions more than men and are more comfortable doing so, talk therapy is often a successful treatment option.  This psychological therapy may be in the form of individual, one on one therapy or in a group (or a combination of both).  Therapy sessions are known to be effective in both out-patient and in-patient treatment.

Antidepressants

Depending on how severe a woman’s case of depression may be, her physician may prescribe medication as treatment.  Prescribed medications for depression fall into two categories: SSRI or SNRI.  SSRIs are serotonin reuptake inhibitors; SNRIs are both serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors.  Patients who are taking antidepressants must be closely monitored because these drugs can have side effects in some individuals.

Herbal Remedies

Herbal remedies like St.  John’s Wort and 5-HTP are natural remedies that some people believe to be effective natural depression relievers.   Researchers believe that these are best used by those who suffer from mild to moderate and are not suitable for those with severe depression.

Herbs and supplements should not be used in conjunction with anti-depressants unless approved by a doctor as sometimes the two have side effects when combined.

Diet & Exercise

Because exercise is known to be a natural mood booster, it makes a great option for women in treatment of their depression if they have a mild to moderate case.  A minimum of 30 minutes of exercise 5-6 days per week is thought by experts to naturally increase the likelihood of feeling good and positive due to the biological changes resulting from regular exercise.

Also, eating foods that are high in Omega-3 (salmon, eggs, and flax seed) oils are thought by some to be effective in naturally treating depression.  Having a proper, well-balanced diet combined with exercise is also great because, unlike with antidepressants, there are no negative side effects to be concerned with.

Prognosis

Knowing the signs of depression will help a woman and her loved ones to recognize whether or not she may be suffering from depression.  Seeking treatment early can not only help in treating the disease, it can also prevent a woman’s depression from getting worse should she be diagnosed.

 

Related Posts

Depression in Women

Depression Symptoms in Women

Postpartum Depression

The Top 10 Signs of Depression in Teenage Girls

Signs of Depression