Symptoms of Depression in Women
4 Min Read
As individuals, we all experience bouts of sadness, crying spells, irritability, and feelings of loneliness and despair in our lives. Sometimes we can identify the potential causes behind it or often spend significant time trying to figure out what must be wrong with us? If the symptoms persist over a long period of time and affect daily functioning substantially, it could be depression. Symptoms of depression in women are very similar to that of men, however, there are a few potential biological causes to look out for.
Potential causes of Depression
There are several potential causes of depression. They can range from biological to situational causes.
– Gender: Prevalence of depression in women has been twice that of men.
– Hormones: Changes in female hormones such as estrogen and progesterone during menstrual cycles, during postpartum, and even during menopause may raise the risk for depression. This is one of the things to keep in men when it comes to symptoms of depression in women.
– Family history: Someone is at a higher risk of developing depression if they already have a family history of depression.
– Brain chemistry: Chemical imbalance in parts of the brain that manages mood, thoughts, sleep, appetite, and behavior also contribute to causes of depression.
– Early childhood trauma: Some significant and life-altering life events affect the way your body reacts to fear and stressful situations and later becomes a cause of depression.
– Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions such as chronic illness, insomnia, chronic pain, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, untimely heart attacks also increase the risk of depression.
– Substance use: A history of substance or alcohol misuse can affect one’s risk of developing depression.
– Life events: unsuccessful relationships or failed relationships, episodes of loss of someone close, bereavement, and grief can also be contributing factors for developing depression.
Symptoms of Depression
Symptoms of depression vary from person to person – as mentioned above symptoms of depression in women are similar to that of symptoms of depression in men. Not everyone with depression will experience the same symptoms. Symptoms can vary in severity, how often they happen, and how long they last. To diagnose someone with depression, the symptoms need to be present nearly every day for at least 2 weeks.
The common symptoms of depression are:
– Feeling sad, anxious.
– Feeling irritable, worthless, hopeless and pessimistic
– Frequent crying spells
– Chronic feelings of emptiness
– Loss of interest in hobbies and interests one previously enjoyed
– Reduced energy or fatigue
– Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
– Changes in sleeping habits and appetite
– Unexplained physical symptoms such as backaches, headaches that otherwise cannot be explained by any other concerns.
– Frequent thoughts of self-harm, suicide, or suicide attempts.
The symptoms of depression can be experienced differently among males, females, teens, and children.
When Depression can be triggered
Depression isn’t always triggered by a depressing situation. Many people can become depressed even when everything in their life is going well. The structural, physiological and biochemical changes that occur in the brain can cause depression. Depression is also often triggered by a stressful or negative life event. By identifying depression triggers, people can identify and be aware and be alert to signs of depression in themselves and in others.
Some of the potential triggers of depression are as follows:
– Grief and Loss: Also known as bereavement – are significant situational triggers of depression.
– Rejection: People have an innate need for approval, affirmation, and acceptance from others. Rejection and social exclusion can be very stressful for people and have been associated with low self-esteem which often triggers depression.
– Stress: Psychological stress is a major cause of depression because of its physical effects on the body and brain. In particular, stress causes hormonal changes that are present in about 70% of depressed people.
– Illness: Illnesses may contribute to up to 10-15% of all cases of depression. This correlation can happen because of several factors. The diagnosis can be traumatic. The illness may cause depressive symptoms (for example, hypothyroidism, vitamin deficiencies). Also, certain medications that of insomnia, certain antibiotics also play a contributing factor.
– Lack of Sleep: Sleep has a reciprocal relationship with depression. First of all, sleep changes are a core symptom of depression. An individual has either increased or decreased sleep. About 75% of depressed people have insomnia, and about 40% sleep excessively (hypersomnia), with lots of overlap.
– Rumination: Rumination is grief that has gotten out of control. The ruminating individual dwells on the grief rather than trying to embrace and deal with it healthily. The grief and pain become an obsession that interferes with normal life functions.
– Money Problems: Financial problems can cause depression in several ways. People experiencing financial difficulties, such as drops in income or financial loss, should consider measures to improve their ability to cope with the stress associated with these changes.
– Life Transitions: Life transitions, even positive ones, can have negative effects on a person’s mood. People are creatures of habit, so even positive life changes can take them out of their comfort zone and cause stress.
When to see a therapist
Everyone experiences periods of stress, sadness, conflict, and more. Hence, when you’re feeling off, it can be hard to know if it’s time to see about the problem. It’s a simple question of measuring to what extent you can manage- anything that makes you feel overwhelmed or limits your ability to function are the signs that you need to consider meeting the right mental health professional.
If you’re looking for medication, you can choose to see a psychiatrist who can prescribe you medication and if you’re looking for behavioral intervention which concerns 40-50% of the overall intervention, you may see a psychotherapist. Make sure to consult a registered clinical psychologist or counselors experienced in handling mild to severe mental health conditions. Symptoms of depression in women are self-diagnosable (same as men), however, that does not mean self-medication is the answer.
You’d go to a professional if you had a physical injury right? Well, your mental health should also be of equal priority. MFine’s 2-Month Mental Health Care Plan gives you the ease of flexibility and quality treatment quickly. The customized program designed for you will help you access advice on daily care along with therapy sessions. The plan also includes daily supervision and assessments so you know your progress.
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