Although many people experience depression after losing a loved one or a job, or being diagnosed with a serious illness, major depression is an ongoing and disabling disease.
- Depression affects nearly twice as many women as men.
- It is one of the most common mental health disorders in the United States.
- About one in eight women can expect to develop major depression during her lifetime.
- Depression occurs most frequently in women aged 25 to 44.
Major Depression Symptoms: Women vs. Men
Women: Feelings of sadness, worthlessness and guilt. Fewer than half of women who experience major depression seek medical care.
Men: Fatigue, irritability and anger.
Types of Depression
Depression comes in many forms:
Major depression: The hallmark of major depression is an overwhelming feeling of sadness or a loss of interest in your usual activities. Symptoms last for at least two weeks and may impact your daily life, making going to work, school or other functions difficult.
Persistent depression: When you consistently feel low for most days over a two-year period, you may have persistent depression. The symptoms aren't as intense as major depression, and you may also have brief periods of feeling better.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder: Although similar to premenstrual syndrome (PMS), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is more severe. You may experience intense feelings of sadness, tension and irritability that affect daily functioning.
Seasonal affective disorder: If you experience depression in winter that gets better during spring and summer, you may have seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Characterized by social withdrawal and increased sleep, SAD is triggered by reduced exposure to sunlight.
Perinatal Anxiety and Mood Disorders: When you have symptoms of major depression during pregnancy or after delivery it's called perinatal anxiety and mood disorder (PAMD). The condition can interfere with your ability to care for yourself and your baby.
5 Depression Triggers
Genetic, biological and environmental factors can trigger or exacerbate symptoms of depression. Here are five common culprits of depression in women:
Depression is Crippling
Depression is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for people ages 15 to 44.
When you're depressed, you may also be struggling with…
- An eating disorder: Research indicates a strong relationship between depression in women and eating disorders.
- Substance abuse: One of out three people with depression has issues with substance abuse or dependence.
- An unhappy marriage: People with unhappy marriages have the highest rates of depression.
Natural Mood Boosters for Mild Depression
If your mood is low, but you’re still able to carry out your normal, daily routine, try one or more of these activities that can help reduce depression symptoms:
- Aerobic exercise
When to Seek Professional Help
Major depression is treatable if you seek medical care. Appropriate therapies may include medication, psychological counseling and alternative strategies including meditation, massage and exercise.
If you have persistent feelings of depression, you should make an appointment to talk with our specialists in behavioral health. They can assess your needs and help you feel like yourself again.
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