Depression affects a large majority of the population around the world. Thus, we have decided to talk about 5 major depression symptoms in women.
According to an article published by World Health Organisation (WHO), depression is a common disorder among 280 million people worldwide. It is a leading contributor to mood changes and behavioral changes, and in severe cases, it leads to suicide.
A case study by Paul Albert reveals that with age, depression tends to subside, but the major causes of depression across the globe are growing due to internal and external factors such as relationships, careers, abuse, anxiety, and so on.
Numerous factors can contribute to depression. Some may be genetic; some may be induced. Whatever the reason or level of depression, it can be treated properly with the help of a professional.
With our article on 5 Major Depression Symptoms in Women, we want to spread awareness about depression and ways you can combat it. We want you to know what depression is, what might cause it, and your treatment options.
There is no better help than professional help, but online support groups and understanding and love from your near and dear ones count just as much as help from an expert.
1. Are You Sad or Depressed? Know The Difference
There is a difference between being sad and being depressed; the first difference is that with time your sadness fades away but with depression, your mood, your behavior, and relationships deteriorate. Depression is something you cannot snap out of, which is why professional help is required.
Surprisingly, more women are affected by depression than men. In a study by Mayo Clinic, the experts suggest that women are more prone to depression because of hormonal differences.
Depression affects women differently; in some, it may be mild while in others, the depression may be severe. Depending on the situation, the trauma, or the condition, the medication and treatment do vary. However, the depression symptoms in women are more or less similar in both genders.
There are 5 common depression symptoms in women that you can easily spot. If your mom, friend, or sister shows any of these signs, you can first talk to them about it and find a suitable solution for the person in question.
1.1) Depression Symptoms in Women: Do they Differ in Men?
Depression symptoms in women are similar to those in men. According to a study published in a medical journal, the severity of depression is believed to be higher in women than in men. Also, twice as many females have been found to fall under depression as men.
The study suggests that women have different stages of depression, i.e., puberty, PMDD, Post Partum, and so on, which can happen at any stage in their life cycle. But mostly, adolescents seem to fall under depression.
In this article, we will talk about certain depression symptoms in women or in general, to look out for. To help you read the signs and understand who might be suffering from depression, we have researched and shortlisted 5 depression symptoms in women you cannot miss.
We have also included helpful resources at the end of our article. Make sure you read the article till the end to find what you were looking for.
2. 5 Depression Symptoms in Women You Should Not Miss
- Waves of sadness – Sometimes, a person feels sad and empty in waves. This means that you might feel alright at one moment, but you are overpowered with sadness and emptiness in the next moment. Some people who experience sadness tend to draw away from their close ones and isolate themselves.
- Lack of interest – depression causes you to lose interest in day-to-day activities, hobbies, and work. Sometimes, you might also lose interest in things that used to make you happy. People suffering from depression also tend to lose their focus on things. They may be easily distracted or zone out frequently. Be wary of these symptoms, especially if they persist for more than 3 days.
- Disturbance in sleep patterns – While some may suffer from insomnia, others may tend to oversleep. Sometimes depression may lead to overthinking, anxiety and stress, resulting in irregular sleep patterns.
- Outbursts – random outbursts are also quite common during depression since you cannot express exactly what it is you are feeling. Some may get anger outbursts, whilst some burst out crying. You may be mad at yourself for past mistakes or for not knowing what the future holds for you. Outbursts can lead to professional and personal relationship issues, so it is important to understand and control the root of the problem once you notice it.
- Loss of appetite – This is another common symptom in women suffering from depression. Since one feels low on energy, experiences anxiety, and has gastric symptoms such as nausea, pain in the abdomen, or diarrhea, people tend to lose their appetite.
Another common depression symptom in women is suicidal thoughts. If you or anyone you know has expressed suicidal thoughts, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. When suicidal thoughts are involved, your depression is classified under the serious category.
3. Hormones and Depression: What Is the Relationship Between These Two?
Women are more likely to feel depressed than men because of fluctuating hormone levels.
There are different stages in a woman’s life when she might feel depressed, which are as follows;
3.1. During Puberty
Puberty is a difficult time for all teens. Since the body is developing rapidly and you are growing psychosocially, it is only normal that the child pulls away from others. Puberty can be tough, especially for young women, because of weight change, mood swings, lack of emotional support, and the environment one is surrounded. Once you detect your child pulling away during puberty, assure them that you are always there for them and use positive reassurance techniques to help them fight depression. If you notice serious signs of depression, it is best to get in touch with a doctor for treatment.
3.2. During Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
At least 2 weeks before a period, she experiences irritation and mood swings. It is a common symptom among most people who menstruate.
However, a more severe form of mood swings and irritation is experienced by people going through premenstrual dysphoric disorder. It is a serious condition that plays with one’s appetite, sadness, anger, and bloating and causes joint pain.
3.3. Post Pregnancy
Most women go through postpartum depression or a baby blues phase post pregnancy. This includes mood swings, irritability, fear, and anxiety. The level of depression varies from woman to woman; However, post-pregnancy depression is quite common and may also go away on its own over a period of time; it is important to get it treated on time if your blues continue.
This ensures that depression does not affect the mother’s relationship with her child or children.
3.4. Menopausal Depression
During menopause, women experience a drop in their hormone levels (i.e., estrogen and progesterone levels drop) which means there is also a drop in their serotonin levels which leads to anxiety, unhappiness, and irritability.
There is no definite answer to this question, as genetic or external factors can contribute to it. Some of the reasons that lead to depression may be because of issues like:
4.1. Mental Disorders
Genetic disorders tend to lead to depression. Although the intensity of depression may differ, the effects can be run down from generation to generation.
4.2. Substance Abuse
This can include abuse of alcohol or drugs. People who overdo it with alcohol or drugs tend to see a shift in behavior.
4.3. Brain Abnormalities
A chemical imbalance in the brain leads to depression.
4.4. Lack of Support from Family and Friends
People who do not receive enough emotional or physical support from friends and family tend to slip into a depressive state.
Certain medications play with your hormones which may lead to a change in behavior, resulting in depression.
4.6. Events in Life
Certain life events such as physical or sexual abuse, toxic work environment, lack of work-life balance, your surrounding at home/ cliques, or certain incidents/ accidents can also lead to or trigger the onset of depression.
5. Treatment for Depression
It is important to note that treatments for all kinds of depression are available. No matter how mild or severe, or what age group you fall into – do not disregard your feelings and emotions and go see a doctor or mental health professional.
There are various therapies and medications available for women undergoing depression. But it is important to treat depression on time for optimal results.
Let us cover treatments based on the woman’s lifecycle.
5.1) Treatment for Young Women Undergoing Depression Caused During Puberty
For young women who just hit puberty, there are 2 types of treatments available;
- The first type of treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT. CBT in simple terms is a talk therapy session. With this treatment, the main focus lies on changing the behavioral patterns or cognitive patterns that lead to depression.
- Interpersonal Therapy or IPT is a form of therapy that focuses on relationships. Here, the underlying problems of relationships are identified and addressed. In most cases, people who go through tough breakups, see their parents go through a divorce, or experience the loss of someone close to them, need to undergo IPT.
5.2) For Women Dealing with PMDD, the Treatment Available Is Called ‘Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor’ or SSRI
SSRI is an antidepressant medication given to people with severe depression. In most cases, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors are prescribed in addition to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for best results.
Since SSRI is a medication with the least side effects, many doctors prescribe it followed by therapy. However, it is not advised for people with underlying health conditions like kidney disease, epilepsy, diabetes, or if they are pregnancy.
Medication alone cannot treat severe symptoms; thus, patients must either talk to their therapist at least once a week or go to support groups where they can share their feelings without being judged.
5.3) Side Effects You May Experience with SSRI
Blurred vision – do not be alarmed, but antidepressant medications usually affect the pupil and the muscle function of the eye. The side effect is temporary and will subside with time.
Diarrhea is common to experience diarrhea because the medication toys with the serotonin receptors in the brain and the gastrointestinal tract.
Dizziness – dizzy spells are also quite common when taking SSRIs. It is important to have someone around in case the dizzy spells are severe. If the conditions persist, you should consult your doctor to switch medications or change the dose.
Feeling anxious – unfortunately, feeling anxious is another side effect of the medication. Although it isn’t severe, you should always have someone around to ensure you do not feel alone.
Low libido – a low sex drive is also very common when taking SSRI.
Kindly note that it is important for a patient to disclose any medical conditions prior to taking anti-depressants. Moreover, the side effects differ from woman to woman, depending on the dosage and duration of prescribed medication.
If any side effects persist or get worse, see your doctor immediately.
5.4) How does SSRI Work?
Since SSRI is an antidepressant, it works by elevating the serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a chemical that helps lighten the mood, improve sleep, and keep one’s emotions in check.
The doses and duration of taking the medication vary from person to person, depending on the severity of the depression.
Everyone starts off on a low dose for two to four weeks. In some cases, you might have to continue the dosage for four to six weeks to six months.
Again, it is important to note that only an expert can determine the dosage and duration based on your condition. Never self-medicate, as it can be dangerous to your health.
6. Virtual Helplines You Can Reach out To in Times of Crisis
Here are a few platforms where you, your loved one, or someone you know can reach out to for help.
For Mental Health or Emotional Support from the Live Love Laugh Foundation, visit the link here
You can visit the link for visual support from World Health Organisation.
You can also check for local support groups near you on Google or other search engines. Ask friends or family if they can help you find support groups.
If you cannot find any local groups, we suggest you talk to a friend or family member to help you fight your battle with depression.
7. Our Article on Depression Symptoms in Women a Nutshell
7.1. If You or The Person You Know Is Reluctant, You Should Do the Following;
You can also find more articles on depression on our website. Simply search for the topic you are interested in, and we are sure you will find what you are looking for.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is Experiencing Depression Occasionally Normal?
It’s common to experience sadness or depression from time to time, especially in response to stressful situations or life events. But if these emotions last for more than two weeks and start to affect day-to-day functioning, it can be an indication of depression.
2. What Are Some Techniques for Treating the Signs of Depression?
Talking to a therapist, engaging in self-care activities like exercise and mindfulness, choosing a healthy lifestyle that includes eating well and getting enough sleep, and possibly taking medication that has been recommended by a healthcare professional are just a few methods to manage depression.
3. Is Depression Treatable?
Although depression is curable, no one treatment will work for everyone. Medication may provide relief for some people, while talk therapy, a combination of both, or both may be helpful for others. It’s crucial to get professional medical advice and create a personalized treatment strategy.