Why Is Depression More Common in Women?

Why Is Depression More Common in Women?Depression is more prevalent among women than men, and scientists, including researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), are studying the reasons behind the difference. A common theory points to the lifecycle of a woman’s hormones as a cause for the disease. Women are 70 percent more likely than men to be depressed during a lifetime, according to 2005 national mental health survey entitled the National Comorbidity Survey Replication.

What Is Depression?

Depression is more than feeling sad. It is a disease that causes feelings of extreme sadness that disrupts daily life and interactions with family and friends.

Brain scans of people suffering from depression show different activity in the parts of the brain that control mood, thinking, sleep, appetite and behavior. Since hormones are related to emotions and mood, researchers are looking at ways to link hormonal changes to depression.

Researchers are targeting times of hormonal transition in a woman’s life, such as the following drastic events:

  • Puberty
  • Times before menstrual periods
  • Before, during and just after pregnancy
  • Just prior to and during menopause

These phases can be difficult to endure for any woman, so seek help if you are depressed and suffer these issues.

Co-Occurring Conditions and Depression in Women

Many women suffer from depression and a co-occurring condition. Depressed females are more likely than men to have an anxiety disorder, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They also are more likely to have an eating disorder like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and others.

While men are more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol when depressed, women also may abuse substances while suffering from the disease, according to statistics from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Treatments for Depression in Women

There are highly effective treatments for depressed women—the most common strategy is to use medication and talk therapy. Antidepressant medications work to stabilize brain chemicals. NIMH notes that the most popular new medications are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and include the following substances:

  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Citalopram(Celexa)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox)

These medications and talk therapy can help women overcome their struggle with depression and resume healthy lives.

Help Finding Treatment for Depression

Many women avoid treatment for depression, which does little more than to delay recovery. Do not suffer needlessly; please call our toll-free helpline now where we are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our phone counselors can offer help and advice, so call us and get started on the path to a better life.