Depression is a mood disorder that involves a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. People experience depression in different ways. It may interfere with your daily work, resulting in lost time and lower productivity, isolation and despair that affects how a person thinks, feels and functions.. It can also influence relationships and some chronic health conditions. As women, we have many life roles. Mother, wife, employee, friend and so on. Some of the mood changes may be due to life event or may be due to hormones (e.g., pregnancy, menstrual cycle). In general, after a few days, your emotions tend to level out and you don’t feel down in the dumps anymore. The complexity of all of these roles can cause ups and downs throughout life.
Biology and Hormones: If you have a family history of depression or another mood disorder then you’re at a higher risk for developing depression. Pregnancy, fertility, perimenopause, menopause, and menstrual cycles also increase women’s risk factors of developing depression. These are caused due to hormonal imbalances and rapid fluctuations in reproductive hormones.
Psychological Causes: Some events affect the way your body reacts to fear and stressful situations. Women are more emotional and are likely to reuse negative thoughts during spell of depression. Women are more vulnerable to stress due to their increased levels of progesterone than men .
Brain Structure: Neurotransmitters are naturally occurring brain chemicals that play a vital role in depression. If the frontal lobe of your brain is less active then there’s a greater risk of depression .
Medical Conditions: Certain situations like insomnia, chronic pain, chronic illness, may put you at higher risk.
Social Causes: Skills to cope such as lifestyle choices, choice of relationships, affect women differently than men. Woman are more likely to develop depression from marital or relationship problems, work-life balance issues, financial troubles, and stressful life events, such as the loss of a loved one.
- Women feel scared and anxious, men may feel guarded
- Women blame themselves for the depression; men blame others
- Women when depressed, usually feel sad, worthless, and apathetic whereas, men feel irritable and angry
- Depressed women avoid conflicts but men likely to create conflicts
- Women turn to food and friends to self-medicate, whereas men turn to alcohol, TV, sex, or sports to self-medicate
- Women feel lethargic and nervous; men feel agitated and restless
- Women easily talk about their feelings of self-doubt and despair and men hide feelings of self-doubt and despair-considering it a sign of weakness
Children may experience symptoms like:
Mood swings, such as irritability, anger, crying
emotional well-being, such feelings of incompetence or despair, crying, intense sadness.
- Behaviour, like problems at school or refusing to go to school, avoiding siblings or friends, death or suicide thoughts .
- Cognitive abilities like decline in school performance, changes in grades and difficulty in concentrating
- Sleep patterns, such as difficulty in sleeping or sleeping too much
- Physical health, such as energy loss, digestive problems, changes in appetite, weight loss or gain
Medication: Prescription drugs, called antidepressants, helps to alter mood by affecting naturally occurring brain chemicals. Medications take time usually 2 to 4 weeks to work, and often symptoms such as appetite, concentration problems and sleep improve before people may notice mood changes.
Psychotherapy: Talk therapy or counseling, this type of treatment will help some patients with depression. Different types of psychotherapy has cognitive-behavioral therapy, that can helps a person change negative thought patterns or replace them with healthier ones, as well as interpersonal therapy, that is designed to help someone understand and work through difficult relationships. Another type of psychotherapy is problem-solving therapy, that involves coming up with realistic solutions to cope with stressful situations.
Less Common Treatments: For severe depressed patients who have not responded to any medication or psychotherapy, doctors may consider transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). This involves stimulating nerve cells in the brain by receiving magnetic pulses on the scalp which are involved in mood regulation and depression.