Given that some 15 million people in the United States live with one form of depression or another, most people know that it’s a serious affliction worthy of knowing about in order to deal with it in others and look for it in ourselves. Women, however, suffer from depression at twice the rate of men, meaning about one in four of them will experience an episode at some time. Here’s what females should know about it.
First, depression doesn’t just mean feeling down. It can also refer to strong or otherwise unjustified feelings of guilt, helplessness, or pessimism. Depression can mean an empty feeling or a kind of overwhelming lethargy that leads to long hours in bed. Sometimes, though, it means being so anxious or worried that sleep hardly happens at all. So while depression can mean feeling sad or even suicidal, know that it can encompass a wide range of negative emotions too.
One form of depression is known as mania. Most people know of it as bipolar disorder. Women who suffer from it hit both extremes on the emotional spectrum. This means they can go from rock bottom to extremely happy seemingly in the blink of an eye—other times the transition is more gradual. This means that being in a “good” mood from time to time doesn’t mean you’re necessarily enjoying good mental health.
There are a number of things that can cause depression and many reasons to explain why women suffer from it more than men. Depression is often genetic though, so be wary of any traces of it in your family tree. Those who lost a parent before 10 also suffer at a higher rate. The same can be said for those who already suffered the trauma of physical or sexual abuse when they were just a child.
One type of depression that adds to the higher rates of it in women is postpartum depression. So if you’ve recently had a baby and are beginning to feel negative emotions in greater amounts, that could be why.
Far more could be said about depression and why and how women suffer from it. However, the important thing to understand is that it women are far more likely to suffer from it and it doesn’t mean just feeling sad. So you could be living with it at the moment without getting the help you need. Consider the above information and see a specialist if you believe depression may be affecting your life.