Living with depression is highly challenging since it involves intense emotions of extreme negativity, hopelessness, anxiety and even suicidal tendencies. Although it can happen to anyone, one must not take it lightly since it can affect almost every aspect of one’s life, be it physical or mental health, relationships or work. However, the worst part is that it not only affects the sufferer but equally impacts his or her family and friends.
Apparently, women are twice as likely to develop depression as compared to men, reveal several studies. Even the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) indicates that depression is more common in women as compared to men, which can be attributed to various biological and social factors exclusive to women.
Some of the factors responsible for increasing the risk of depression in women are:
- Hormonal changes: Women undergo a lot of hormonal changes during their lifetime, as compared to men. For instance, during pregnancy or post-delivery, a new mom has to deal with mood swings, often due to difficulty in bonding with the newborn. Or, during menopause, a woman has to go through a plethora of emotional upheavals, including irritation, sadness or depression. Dealing with such changes clubbed with high-stress levels leads to a higher risk of depression.
- Disrupted personal relationships: Women generally get more involved and serious in their relationships. This, in turn, increases the risk of developing depression when such relationships do not work out in accordance with their expectations. What adds to their troubles is the everyday struggle of juggling between job and family responsibilities, which, sometimes, causes unbearable pressure and stress, eventually leading to depression.
- Increased stress and worry: Stress is a major factor, which affects women more as compared to men. This is because the chances of women facing difficult situations such as sexual abuse or assaults or domestic violence are higher. These can lead to a long-lasting negative impact on the brain. In susceptible women, depression is a common feature characterized by loss of self-confidence or sadness that does not seem to go away on its own.
- Loss of social support system: Women, in general, require more love and care than men in order to lead a happy life. Therefore, losing a support system, whether in the form of friends or relatives, can have an impact their health, which, in turn, could increase the risk of developing depression.
- Issues related to body image: Women are more prone to suffer from issues related to body image, especially during adolescence, which ultimately leads to depression. Puberty is the stage when most girls go through innumerable physical and mental changes, which plays a key role in causing tremendous changes in one’s lifestyle, relationships or coping skills, which eventually leads to depression.
Recognizing depression early is important
Diagnosing depression is a difficult task. Keeping a check on symptoms such as ongoing feelings of sadness, guilt or hopelessness, loss of interest in things the person once enjoyed, and significant changes in sleeping patterns could help in an early diagnosis of depression.