The Gender That Is More Depressed
While depression is more common in females, it’s important to note that depression happens quite commonly in males as well. There are many factors that predispose women to developing depression: hormonal changes during puberty, premenstrual syndrome, pregnancy, giving birth, perimenopause, life circumstances and culture and other psychiatric conditions such as anxiety, schizophrenia, eating disorders and drug abuse.
Hormonal changes during puberty as well as emerging sexuality are reasons for why females experience depression during this time period. It is thought that estrogen and progesterone are the hormones that disrupt the function of serotonin in the brain, resulting in depressive feelings. In addition, their emerging sexuality, interest in partying, identification with peers, mood swings and conflicts with parents are reasons behind their depressive experiences.
Females who experience premenstrual syndrome struggle with abdominal bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, irritability and anxiety. These symptoms are obviously distracting from everyday life, increasing their chances of feeling depressed. In addition, some women progress to develop premenstrual dysphoric disorder, a disabling depressive experience that may interfere with their studies, work and relationships.
Depression during pregnancy can occur due to many reasons: a lack of social support, lifestyle changes, unplanned pregnancies, stopping use of antidepressants, previous episodes of depression, etc. Pregnancy can be a very big stressor for many women, easily leading to depressive symptoms when inadequate support is an issue.
While about 60% of women experience the postpartum blues, about 15% also develop postpartum depression. The responsibility of taking care of a child, hormonal changes, previous episodes of postpartum depression, infant complications and poor social support are some of the reasons behind developing postpartum depression.
Perimenopause or the transition to menopause may cause depression in some women. This may be due to interrupted sleep, history of anxiety or depression and hormonal changes. For some women, just the idea of entering “menopause” may be shocking to them: the realization of “aging” can be quite hard on some women.
Lastly, life circumstances and culture can also lead to higher rates of depression in females. Many women tend to work and maintain responsibility at home, such as taking care of the children and the house. And while the divorce rate remains elevated, many women may be experiencing single parenthood, having to work a job and take care of a child at the same time.
Because women are more likely than men to experience sexual abuse, they’re also more likely to experience depression as a result. In addition, unequal power and status is still a major concern around the world for many women, resulting in a lower self-esteem, feelings of negativity and a sense of lack of control, all increasing the chance for the development of depression.
As men, we need to become more supportive of women overall. They are the ones who tend to be more nurturing than us, take care of our children, cook and clean the house and maintain a job to make ends meet. They also have to experience fluctuating hormones, resulting in mood changes, stress and irritability.
Let’s come together and help all the women in the world. Together we can.
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