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Why Women Face a Higher Rate of Depression
Not all women who suffer from depression are under stress. And not all women who are under stress suffer from depression, but research shows that the two are often related.
A Meaningful Link
The higher rate of depression among women is explained, in part, by hormonal changes. The fluctuations that occur during a woman’s cycle can affect her moods. Environmental factors, such as stress, also take their toll. Women who are biologically vulnerable to depression are more likely to develop the disease when they’re under chronic stress.
Many women face more daily stresses than men. They may have to care for children and aging parents in addition to working. Certain tendencies also may create more stress that results in depression. These include:
Women with these problem tendencies may behave in a way that causes or worsens a stressful event. For instance, a woman who expects her husband to be unsupportive may be more likely to provoke a negative response.
Women may be able to prevent depression by reducing stress. Here are a few strategies:
Some women who have problem tendencies, such as low self-esteem, may want to consider counseling.
When It’s Really Depression
Stress may mimic some signs of depression, such as changes in sleeping or eating patterns. But stress is not usually accompanied by extreme sadness or a loss of interest in regular activities that lasts longer than two weeks. These are considered signals of depression. An increased incidence of depression is most common in postpartum females, patients with chronic diseases and individuals with a family history of depression and/or alcoholism. Medications, counseling, exercise, eating a healthy diet, avoiding alcoholic beverages and reducing caffeine intake can help treat depression.
To seek treatment for stress and depression, please contact your primary care provider at 858-499-2600. If you are feeling suicidal, please seek help right away.
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