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Depression in Women

Depression in Women

Depression in Women

Here are some facts about female depression: Every year, about one in five women or over 6.5 million females in the United Kingdom suffer from depression. Unfortunately, over two-thirds of those who require assistance do not receive it.

Women’s depression is fairly frequent. Women are twice as likely as males to experience clinical depression. One in every four women will experience serious depression at some point in their lives.

What Is Depression?

Clinical depression is a serious and widespread mental illness. Sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, and a sense of worthlessness are all symptoms. Apathy, a lack of food, difficulties sleeping, low self-esteem, and low-grade weariness are all signs of depression, which can range from mild to moderate. It can also be more serious.

What Are the Symptoms of Depression in Women?

Symptoms of depression in women include:

  • Sad, nervous, or “empty” mood that persists
  • Loss of enjoyment or interest in activities, such as sex
  • Excessive sobbing, restlessness, or irritability
  • Guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, hopelessness, and pessimism are all common feelings.
  • Too much or too little sleep, early morning waking
  • Overeating and weight gain, or appetite and/or weight reduction
  • Less energy, tiredness, and a sense of “slowing down”
  • Suicide attempts or thoughts of death or suicide
  • Concentration, memory, and decision-making issues
  • Headaches, stomach problems, and chronic pain are examples of persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment.

What Does Mania Look Like in Women?

Mania is a high-energy state accompanied by an elevated mood that can occur in people with bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder causes mood swings that range from sadness to mania over the course of days, weeks, or months. Even though mania is characterised by a heightened mood, it is a dangerous condition that requires medical evaluation and treatment.

Mania has the following symptoms:

  • Abnormally elevated mood
  • Crankiness
  • Less need for sleep
  • Grandiose ideas
  • Greatly increased talking
  • Racing thoughts
  • Increased activity, including sexual activity
  • Markedly increased energy
  • Poor judgment can lead to risk-taking behaviour
  • Inappropriate social behaviour

Why are women more likely
than men to suffer from depression?

Depression is uncommon before puberty, and it affects both girls and boys at roughly the same rate. However, as a female approaches puberty, her risk of depression skyrockets, reaching twice that of boys.

Some specialists believe that changes in hormone levels that occur during a woman’s life may contribute to her higher risk of depression. These changes can be seen during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, as well as after birth or miscarriage. Furthermore, hormone fluctuations associated with each month’s menstrual cycle are likely to contribute to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a severe syndrome characterised by depression, anxiety, and mood swings that occurs in the week leading up to menstruation and interferes with daily life.

How Does Depression in Women
Differ From Depression in Men?

Women’s depression differs from men’s depression in various ways:

  • Women’s depression may strike earlier, persist longer, return more frequently, be linked to stressful life events, and be more susceptible to seasonal variations.
  • Women are more prone than men to feel guilty and try suicide, even if they commit suicide less frequently.
  • Anxiety disorders, particularly panic and phobic symptoms, and eating disorders are more commonly connected with depression in women.

What Factors Influence Women’s Depression Risk?

According to the National Institutes of Health, reproductive, genetic, or other biological variables, interpersonal interactions, and certain psychological and personality characteristics all raise the risk of depression in women. Women who juggle employment and raising children, as well as single mothers, are more stressed, which can lead to depression symptoms. Other factors that could raise your risk include:

  • Family history of mood disorders
  • History of mood disorders in early reproductive years
  • Loss of a parent before age 10
  • Loss of a social support system or the threat of such a loss
  • Ongoing psychological and social stress, such as loss of a job, relationship stress, separation, or divorce
  • Physical or sexual abuse as a child
  • Use of certain medications

After giving birth, women might develop postnatal depression. In the winter, some people get the seasonal affective disorder. Bipolar disorder includes depression as one of its symptoms.

Is it true that depression runs in families?

Depression can be passed down across generations. It usually happens between the ages of 15 and 30. Women are more likely than men to have a family history of depression. However, there isn’t always a clear genetic or hereditary relationship to explain why someone could be depressed.

How Do PMS and PMDD
Affect Women’s Depression?

Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, affects up to three out of every four menstruating women and is characterised by mental and physical symptoms that vary in intensity from one menstrual cycle to the next. Typically, women in their 20s and 30s are affected.

PMDD, a severe type of PMS defined by emotional symptoms such as melancholy, anxiety, mood fluctuations, crankiness, and loss of interest in things, affects between 3% to 5% of menstrual women.

PMS and PMDD sufferers typically have symptoms 7 to 10 days before menstruation and then experience remarkable relief once their period begins.

These conditions have been recognised as significant sources of discomfort and behavioural change in women throughout the last decade. Though the exact link between PMS, PMDD, and depression is unknown, anomalies in the functioning of mood-regulating brain circuits, as well as variable hormone levels, are thought to play a role.

How Are PMS and PMDD Treated?

Many women who suffer from depression and PMS or PMDD find relief by exercising or meditating. Medicine, individual or group psychotherapy, or stress management may help people with severe symptoms. A smart place to start is with your primary care physician or an OB/GYN. Your doctor can do a depression screening and address your symptoms.

Does Depression Affect Women While Pregnant?

Pregnancy was long thought to be a happy time for women, protecting them against mental illness. However, depression is almost as common in pregnant women as it is in non-pregnant women. The following factors can increase the risk of depression in pregnant women:

  • A history of depression or PMDD
  • Age at time of pregnancy (the younger you are, the higher the risk)
  • Living alone
  • Limited social support
  • Marital conflict
  • Uncertainty about the pregnancy

What Effect Does Depression
Have on Pregnancy?

Depression may have the following effects on pregnancy:

  • Having an impact on a woman’s ability to care for herself when pregnant. They may be less able to adhere to medical advice, as well as sleep and eat correctly.
  • Causing a woman to use chemicals that are harmful to the baby, like as tobacco, alcohol, and/or illegal narcotics.
  • Making it difficult to form a bond with the baby.

Women’s depression may be influenced by pregnancy:

  • Pregnancy stress can lead to the onset of depression, a recurrence of depressive symptoms, or a worsening of symptoms.
  • Depression during pregnancy can increase the likelihood of postpartum depression (called postpartum depression).

If I’m Depressed During Pregnancy,
What Are My Options?

It takes a lot of effort to prepare for a new baby. However, your health should always come first. Resist the impulse to complete everything, reduce your responsibilities, and engage in activities that will help you relax. Furthermore, discussing issues that worry you is critical. Speak with your friends, partner, and family. When you ask for help, you will often receive it.

Consider going to counselling if you’re depressed and nervous. Request a referral to a mental health professional from your doctor or midwife.

What Are the Treatment Options
for Depression in Pregnant Women?

Many antidepressants, including most SSRIs (excluding Paxil), appear to have little (if any) risks for treating depression during pregnancy, at least in terms of potential short-term consequences on the infant, according to growing research. Long-term impacts are still being investigated.

Risks vary depending on medicine and a variety of other factors that can jeopardise a developing foetus during pregnancy. Both the mother and the infant are at risk of depression if not treated. When other therapies have failed, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) or transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) may be used to treat severe depression during pregnancy.

Consult your doctor about the potential dangers and advantages of treatment.

How Is Postnatal Depression in Women Treated?

Postnatal depression, often known as depression after childbirth, is sometimes treated similarly to other types of depression. This entails the use of medications and psychotherapy. If a woman is breastfeeding, the choice to take an antidepressant should be decided after a discussion of the risks and benefits with their doctor and their personal psychiatrist. The majority of antidepressants are only present in trace amounts in breast milk, and their potential effects on a nursing newborn, if any, are unknown.

Brexanolone (Zulresso) is a medication that was approved specifically to treat Postnatal depression. Most women have reported alleviation after receiving it through an IV over the course of three days.

Does Depression in Women Increase at Midlife?

Perimenopause is a stage of a woman’s reproductive life that begins in her 40s (or earlier) and lasts for a year after menstruation has stopped. The decline in oestrogen accelerates in the latter 1 to 2 years of perimenopause. Many women are experiencing menopausal symptoms at this time.

Menopause is the moment when a woman’s monthly menstruation stops and she has symptoms connected to a loss of oestrogen production. A woman is considered to be in menopause if her periods have been absent for a year. Menopause strikes most women between the ages of 40 and 50. Women who have their ovaries surgically removed, on the other hand, have “sudden” menopause.

During perimenopause and menopause, oestrogen levels diminish, causing physical and emotional changes such as melancholy and anxiety. Hormone levels and physical and mental symptoms are linked, as they are at any other time in a woman’s life. Uneven or skipped periods, heavier or lighter periods, and hot flushes are all examples of physical changes.

How Can I Deal With Menopause Symptoms?

You may manage menopause symptoms and maintain your health in a variety of ways. The following are some suggestions for dealing with mood swings, phobias, and depression:

  • Maintain a healthy diet and workout routine.
  • Participate in a creative outlet or activity that gives you a sense of accomplishment.
  • Practice a self-calming skill like yoga, meditation, or slow, deep breathing.
  • To avoid night sweats and disrupted sleep, keep your bedroom cold.
  • When needed, seek emotional help from friends, family, or a professional counsellor.
  • Maintain your ties to your family and neighbourhood, as well as your friendships.
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking medications, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Take steps to stay cool during hot flashes, such as wearing loose clothing.

How Is Depression Treated in Women?

Treatment options for depression include antidepressant medicines, brain stimulation treatments such as ECT or TMS, and individual psychotherapy.

If your depression is exacerbated by family tension, family therapy may be beneficial. The optimal course of treatment for you will be determined by your mental health care provider or primary care physician. If you’re not sure who to call for depression help, look into the following options:

  • Mental health clinics in the community
  • Assistance programmes for employees
  • Family doctors
  • Social service/family service organisations
  • Maintenance of health organisations
  • Outpatient clinics and hospital psychiatric departments
  • Medical and/or psychiatric societies in the area
  • Psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and mental health counsellors are examples of mental health specialists.
  • Private clinics and amenities are available.
  • Outpatient clinics at hospitals
  • Associated with a university or medical school
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