Top 5 Common Causes of Depression Among Women
It would be a safe to assume that everyone goes through some form of depression at one time or another in the lives. Periods of sadness and hopelessness are very common as life is often challenging and unpredictable. However, what must be understood is that depression can quickly turn into a serious condition that can largely affect a person’s personal and professional relationships.
For women in particular, depression is often very common in nature. In fact, Helpguide.org points out that about one in eight women will have experienced some level of depression during her lifetime. But why? Below, you’ll find an in depth explanation as to the causes of depression in women.
What is Depression?
So that it is not misconstrued, it is first best to define what depression really is. There are some who get depression confused with sadness; however, there is a vast difference. According to Therapy Tribe, a directory site for depression psychologists and other therapists, depression is said to be a mental disorder that causes the affected person to persistently feel sad. Those who suffer from depression might experience feelings of sadness, fatigue, and an overall “down in the dumps” kind of feeling. Depression however, is highly treatable through various means that might include therapy, lifestyle changes, and medication.
Now that you have a better understanding of what depression is, here are a few of the more common reasons depression is prevalent in women:
1. Personal and Professional Relationships
The common misconception is that many women experience depression because they’re biologically more emotional or vulnerable than men. However, contrary to popular belief, medical experts believe that one of the many reasons that women experience depression more than men is a direct result of the various stresses that they face on the day to day bases. Such stresses might include things like their responsibilities at home and at work. Sometimes having an overwhelming amount of responsibilities can lead to sadness, which eventually can turn into depression. Depression rates among women are often higher for those that are divorced or separated. It is also common amongst women who are unhappily married.
2. Hormonal Changes
The reproductive cycle of a female can often bring with it a lot of hormonal changes. This would include things such as the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, post-pregnancy, menopause, or the inability to get pregnant altogether. When these events occur in a woman’s life, it can really change her mood causing some to become depressed. As research has shown, female hormones can have a significant impact on the brain’s chemistry. This in turn can cause a change in mood.
- Premenstrual Syndrome – At various stages in the menstrual cycle, many women experience both physical and behavioral changes. These symptoms could be feelings of sadness, irritability, fatigue, and depression. Such symptoms are often described as premenstrual syndrome or PMS. Every women experiences them differently, however, it typically occurs after ovulation until the onset of menstruation. While these symptoms often subside, when these symptoms become severe, there is the potential for the woman to become depressed.
- Postpartum – After having a child, the body goes through a great deal of changes both physically and hormonally. Women have reported having bouts of the “baby blues” immediately after giving birth that can in some cases develop into full on postpartum depression. Medical researchers suggest that postpartum depression is more prevalent in women who were experiencing symptoms of depression prior to giving birth.
- Menopause – While menopause has not been medically linked to depression, it is common among women during this stage of life. Going through “the change” and dealing with the realities that you won’t be able to bear children any longer can often be an emotional experience to deal with. Again, researchers suggest that those who are most vulnerable to depression at menopause are those who have experienced depression in the past.
- Infertility – The inability to have children altogether can also be a very sad time in a woman’s life. As many women hope to one day give birth to their own children, finding out that they cannot, or will have to conceive through other means can often be difficult to deal with.
3. Cultural Considerations
While there are no real studies to determine the prevalence in depression among various cultures, statistics show that it’s higher among African American and Latina women. Some believe that the statistics are likely much higher than being reported, as it is considered “taboo” in certain cultures to talk about mental illness and seek help. As such, what may have started off as a “rough patch” in a woman’s life can quickly turn into major and clinical depression very quickly.
4. Abuse or Traumatic Experiences
Women who have been molested or sexually abused as children are more likely to become clinically depressed at some point in their lifetime. Since statistics show that there are way more women being sexually abused than men (or at least based on those who actually report abuse as women are more likely to report it than men), the connection between traumatic experiences and depression can be formed. Abuse is a quick trigger for bouts of depression along with feelings of low self esteem, helplessness, self doubt, and eventually isolation.
According to American Progress, in 2007, approximately 13.8 percent of women were considered poor compared to the 11.1 percent of men. As most are aware, having a low income status can bring with it an overwhelming amount of stress that can eventually lead to periods of sadness and hopelessness and depression. Not knowing where your next meal where come from, where your children will lay their heads, or even how to get the bare necessities can often be enough to send a person into a serious bout of depression.
Recognizing the Signs and Getting Help
Depression is no laughing matter and is something that should be taken care of right away. While it is pretty common to go through periods of sadness as a result of life’s circumstances, prolonged periods of hopefulness and lack of interest in life should most certainly be addressed. The best way to do this is to first educate yourself on the various signs of depression. If you believe that you’re experiencing it, you will need to reach out to your doctor for further advice. They will likely recommend that you meet with a therapist specializing in depression. From there, your therapist will assist you in finding a solution that will work best in dealing with your depression.
Hopefully these common causes can give you insight on how women are more likely to experience depression than men. If any of these circumstances seems like something you’re going through, then it is best to consult with your doctor right away for treatment options. Depression is a very treatable condition.
There are both medical and natural ways in which this can be done with the proper diagnosis and guidance. Don’t suffer alone, as one of the most common actions of someone who is depressed is to isolate themselves from others. Recognize the signs and get help. The sooner you get help, the sooner you can get back to enjoying the very pleasures of life.