In advocating women’s health care, it is not enough to have a healthy body but also establish a healthy mind. Sadly, statistics show that about twice as many women get depressed as compared with men. Let us find out what are the things about women that make the female population more prone to depression.
The first factor is puberty. After going through puberty, the depression rates of women become considerably higher as compared with men. Women are more likely to get depressed than men, and this disparity in gender would continue until menopause. Hormone changes may have triggered mood swings, but these are normal and do not last for so long. What truly causes depression brought about by puberty are surfacing sexuality and identity issues, conflict in school, and the pressure of being an achiever in life whether at sports or academics.
Premenstrual irritability and mood swings are also normal for girls. However, extreme cases exist where these premenstrual symptoms become disrupting and greatly affect a woman’s daily routines. PMS may turn to premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) which is a form of depression that would require professional treatment.
Pregnancy may also cause depression. Aside from hormonal changes, pregnancy also entails massive changes in a woman’s life. These changes may involve lifestyle or work changes, mixed feelings about being pregnant, and even issues like miscarriage and infertility may all cause depression.
Postpartum depression is also a common reason for depression among women. Sad, angry or irritable feelings after giving birth are normal and may subside within two weeks. However, prolonged negative feelings may be hints to having postpartum depression. The usual symptoms are lack of self-esteem, anxiety, agitation, inability to take care of the baby, thoughts of harming the baby, and thoughts of suicide.
Perimenopause and menopause itself may cause depression. Perimenopause is the transition to menopause, which may bring about massive life changes. Though many women do not suffer from depression during the menopausal period despite feeling uncomfortable, this is a ver vulnerable period for women.
Life situations and culture may also be reasons for the acquisition of depression. Since our society is still patriarchal in nature, women have the tendency to feel inferior in many aspects. Poverty, for instance, is more common among women because of gender inequality. For example, a woman earns only 90 cents for every dollar a man earns for the same job. This brings about feelings of loss of control over their lives. Work overload is also a common cause. Not only household responsibilities occupy women but also works outside the home since many modern women also work. Moreover, sexual and physical abuses which are prevalent in the society among women make them vulnerable to depression.
Other factors like anxiety, eating disorders, and drug or alcohol abuse may all cause depression.
Although depression appears to be overwhelming, it could be overcome through proper treatment and support. Let us not be slaves of circumstances that do not go our way. The best weapons against depression are strength of spirit and continual support and guidance from the people around us. Let us strive to make the world a depression-free place especially among women.