If you are a woman––or, let’s face it, a person who cares about women at all––it’s important to be able to understand and recognize the signs of a depressive disorder and to be able to find help for yourself or someone you care about when these signs become serious.
Women Are More Affected by Depression in General
According to a study published in the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience in 2015, “The prevalence of major depression is higher in women than in men.” In 2010, the disorder was found in 5.5 percent of women and 3.2 percent of men respectively. But that’s not all. The National Institute on Mental Health states there are certain types of depression that are considered unique to women. These can include
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a condition that causes serious, debilitating symptoms before and around the time of a woman’s period
- Perinatal or postpartum depression, a condition that causes pregnant women or women who have just given birth to experience severe mood swings, feelings of unworthiness, and fatigue
- Perimenopausal depression, a condition that causes women who are going through menopause to experience depression, anxiety, irritability, and other severe emotional symptoms that are, in fact, not normal and potentially dangerous
Because depression is so prevalent in the female population and because 12 percent of women in the United States will experience depression at some point in their lives, according to Health Line, it is necessary for us to understand this disorder as well as to be able to recognize it.
Recognizing the Symptoms of Depression
Though there are many reasons why a depressive syndrome may occur, it is possible for you to be able to recognize depression in yourself or someone you love, even if you don’t know the cause of it.
If you or someone you love has been…
- Experiencing sad, empty, and anxious feelings that persist and will not go away
- Acting or feeling irritable often
- Feeling or expressing more hopelessness or pessimistic thoughts than usual
- Experiencing thoughts of suicide, death, or a desire to die
- Exhibiting a decrease in energy or an increase in fatigue
- Exhibiting altered sleeping patterns like sleeping too much or not enough
- Restless and unable to sit or lie still for a period of time
- Losing interest in things that used to matter to them like hobbies, school, work, etc.
- Exhibiting appetite changes and/or weight loss
- Complaining of cramps, aches and pains, or headaches constantly that medicine does not seem to fix for which no cause can be found
then there is a strong likelihood that some type of depressive disorder could be the culprit. Once you begin to understand and look for the signs and symptoms of depression, you can easily see when yourself or someone you love is experiencing issues with this very common disorder.
How Can I Find Help?
It isn’t easy to admit that you are struggling with depression and that help from a professional will be necessary, but if you have accepted this fact, you are already much closer to getting better. You can find help by using Healthfinder.gov to locate professionals who will be able to guide you through your recovery and create a treatment plan that will allow you to gradually start to feel like your old self again.
Remember: depression isn’t just something you can shake off. It isn’t like a bad mood that can be fixed with a pep talk or tough love. It is a real disease that requires real treatment, and once you seek it, you will be able to see a genuine difference in your life.