Women are twice more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety issues at different stages of their life than men. Depression looks different for everybody. Everyone has different symptoms with varying intensities. Luckily depression is a medically treatable condition even in severe cases but unfortunately, very few women consult their healthcare providers (psychologist/psychiatrist) to seek medical aid for their cure.
Range of different factors
According to mental health experts and researchers, depression is caused by a broad range of different factors that we are going to discuss briefly in this article so that you can find out your possible cause and consult your healthcare provider.
- Hormonal imbalances/shifts
- Personal life circumstances
- Family depression history
- Childhood Trauma
Hormonal imbalance is the most common factor contributing to depression but it is not the only one. Various personal and social conditions like divorce, the death of a close friend/relative, or sexual abuse can also lead to depression. Many people cannot differentiate between their physical and mental health issues because sometimes depression may also cause body aches, hot flashes, and digestion problems, etc.
Females hit puberty earlier than men and have to cope with some serious teenage challenges earlier in life. Some occasional mood swings are common but other tough life conditions like disagreements with parents, sexual identities, and complexities may pair up to cause a serious mental health issue— depression.
Puberty comes with challenges of identifying sexual personality, career pressure, increasing responsibilities, and accepting changing physical appearance.
Females should be made aware of their physical and hormonal changes from an early age so they can deal with the challenges that come along. Awareness really makes a big difference in dealing with mental or physical conditions.
Females have more complex reproductive cycles than men with lots of hormonal changes throughout a month. A normal female reproductive cycle is of 28 days long but a cycle longer than 21 days and shorter than 40 days is also considered normal. Perimenstrual mood swings are very common in females and do not require medical support every time.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) includes breast tenderness, headache, lower concentration spans, irritation, etc. These symptoms are usually mild and treatable by common painkillers. In a few cases, these symptoms worsen and this situation is then called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). It occurs in only 3% to 5% of the total menstruating females.
PMDD is characterized by severe anxiety, crankiness, and lack of interest in daily chores. It comes with major behavioral changes and requires medical assistance.
Pregnancy is a rollercoaster of hormonal changes and shifts. Perinatal depression is really a challenge to a female giving birth. A few mild behavioral changes are common during pregnancy but the following factors may combine to cause serious prenatal depression.
- Lack of social support
- Relationship problems
- Family problems
- Unplanned pregnancy
- Previous depression history
- Lifestyle changes
- Sudden traumas
- Anxiety of increasing responsibilities.
Postpartum depression is even more challenging than prenatal depression. Some mild depression episodes characterized by mental irritation, anxiety, and crying just after giving birth to a baby, are called “ Baby Blues”. It is a very common condition but when in a few cases where it gets extreme, requires medical consultation and help.
Some extreme conditions are identified with new mothers being extremely anxious, more frequent crying fits, mixed emotions of care and hate towards the newborn, lack of self-care, and suicidal thoughts. If you face any of these symptoms, it’s time to seek help from your gynecologist and psychiatrist.
Women start to experience perimenopausal symptoms from the age of 40 until after almost one year of menstruation stoppage. It is a steep turn towards old age in a human female. During these last one to two years of menopause, estrogen level decreases sharply inflicting behavioral changes.
Psychotherapies and nutritional monitoring can help them cope with these symptoms. At this age, females should prioritize their mental health and physical well-being over anything. Engaging in productive habits can distract them from feeling these menopausal symptoms, deeply.
Women are prone to feeling sad, demotivated, and drained during this time. Family support and less responsibility load can prevent them from this suffering.
5. Life conditions
Biological factors are not the only contributors to depression in females rather following external factors also play a major role in poor mental health in females of all ages.
Many people cannot recover from their childhood traumas like physical or mental exploitation, parent divorce, and various other family issues. These traumas are hidden enemies of mental health. Frustration and anger stem from it and explode out even on facing minor inconveniences.
Physical and Sexual abuse
Abuse of any kind molds the perspective and personality of a person in horrible ways. A person with low self-esteem due to a history of sexual/physical abuse is prone to suffer from anxiety and depression.
When a woman is forced to overwork due to any reason, the chances to fall into the rot of depression are pretty high. A study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health says that women working more than 55 hours are week are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression.
We’ve seen this since the internet and cell phones and how they really negatively impact mental health because you don’t get to reboot, you don’t get to refuel.Deborah Serani
A healthy work-life balance is a key to sanity and good mental health. Employers should also consider revising their work schedules if their employees find it overwhelming or depressive.
Women facing physical or mental abuse, infidelity, long-distance relationship, and physical or monetary exploitation are greatly prone to depression. They develop severe depression and anxiety that affects their own, their partner’s, and their children’s lives in the worst way.
“Relationship depression” is a term widely used to refer to this depression and the complexities associated with it. Women can also consult their relationship counselor in this regard.
Importance of Medical support
Being a woman, you should not ignore any of these factors and run for medical support on sensing any of it in yourself or your dear ones, as it can save you and yours from suffering from depression and anxiety.
The medical field has much to offer you. There are psychotherapies and medications like antidepressants available to treat this condition. You cannot help depression but suffering is a choice and you should never go for it!