Most people experience sadness in their lives. Sometimes it happens that depressed mood lasts for a long period of time and does not allow you enjoy life. In such cases, we deal with “depression” and “depressive disorder”. Women are at high risk to develop depression because of characteristics of the psyche. Doctors claim that today major or clinical depression occurs in women two-three times more than in men. How to recognize signs of depression in women, overcome them and start living a happy life.
What is depression?
Depression in women is not just a bad mood. Today it is popular to use this word to denote any bouts of blues and apathy. In fact, depression is a disease with different degrees of severity and its symptoms. While depressed a person can’t function properly in normal life. Feelings of sadness and apathy are expressive and long lasting, at least for two weeks. There are cases when people suffered from depression for six months and more.
The Long-lasting blues never occur without a reason. Crisis or important events in life may result in the disease. Causes of depression, such as the death of a close person, divorce, loss of a job, expulsion, break of socially significant relationships, are always personal.
There are people with depressive personality traits, in such cases, stressful situations trigger the mechanism of this disease. If you don’t solve the problem, depression can last for a long time and cause serious damage to the human psyche. Close people of the woman who has a tendency to depression should be very careful and watch out for warning signs.
Symptoms of depression in women
Since women are more emotional in nature, they need to listen more attentively to themselves. Symptoms of depression are extensive and affect both emotions of women and body manifestations. Before the diagnosis made several signs of depression must be taken into account plus they must last more than two weeks. In short, they must be clear and continuous.
Emotional signs and symptoms include:
- Feeling of sadness, constant depressed and bad mood.
- Despair, loss of meaning in life.
- Development of different fears and phobias.
- Anxious thoughts accompanied by internal stress and the premonition of misfortune.
- Irritability without reasonable grounds, frequent swings of mood.
- Feelings of guilt and self-flagellation.
- Low self-esteem, loss of confidence.
- Loss of interest in favorite activities.
- The woman becomes unemotional.
- Increased anxiety and concern for the health and fate of loved ones.
- Fear to make a mistake during social activities.
Physical symptoms of depression are equally important in the diagnosis. It is rather important to pay attention to the inability of women to adequately describe their feelings and emotions.
Physical signs and symptoms of depressive disorder include:
- Sleeping problems. Insomnia or sleepiness.
- Eating disorders. Either increased or decreased appetite.
- Bowel problems. Constipations take place.
- Loss of interest in sex.
- Loss of energy, physical or mental activity causes exhaustion.
- Pains and discomfort in the area of the heart, the stomach and muscles.
It happens that a woman treats physical ailments and does not notice symptoms of depression, so complex diagnostics is important that allows identifying the behavioral manifestations of depression.
Behavioral signs and symptoms of depression include:
- Apathy, lack of desire to be engaged in an active activity.
- Avoiding any contact with other people.
- Unwillingness to have fun.
- Harmful habits. Abuse of alcohol or drugs.
- Poor personal hygiene.
There are “cognitive” signs of depression.
Specialists pay attention to the following symptoms and signs:
- Inability to concentrate.
- Inability to make decisions.
- Negative thoughts about personality, life and the world around.
- Suicidal thoughts.
- Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness.
- Slow cognitive processing.
Specialists usually make the diagnosis “depression” on the basis of several signs that are manifested at least 2-3 weeks. Only complex diagnostics is able to identify the presence of depression, its stage and form. But it is necessary to the woman or her loved ones to recognize the disease by knowing the signs of depression. Therefore, self-diagnosis is an important moment in the prevention and treatment of mental disorders.
Read more: Depression in men: signs and symptoms
Causes of depression in women
Any disease is easy to prevent, thus, it is important to know about causes of the development. Root causes of depression can be either genetic or external.
Genetic factors of depression in women.
If a family member suffered from depression of a severe form then other family members may have the same problem. But it doesn’t mean if your mother suffered from depression then you will develop this disease for sure.
Experts point out that women suffering from major depression have biochemical processes in the brain, which differ from women who don’t have depression. Some medications, particularly hormone, may lead to depression. It is not uncommon when medications ease the symptoms of depression.
Environmental factors and stressful events.
Stress can trigger a depressive episode. Life events, such as loss of a loved one, conflicts with close people, the birth of a child, financial problems, loss of a job, can provoke the development of depression in women. Often women have to earn livings alone, in such cases, the probability of depression is higher. Poor relationship with a spouse, the absence of happiness may trigger depression as well. Among social problems addiction to alcohol or drugs is not uncommon. Constant negative emotions and feelings may lead to harmful habits.
Other psychological and social factors.
Pessimists and people with low self-esteem are at high risk to develop depressive disorders. Self-esteem in women is unstable and often depends on external factors – admiration and approval of the people around them. The inability to cope with stress and negative aspects of the outside world provoke long-lasting depressive disorder. Women tend to think in a negative way, so it is more difficult to handle stress. If we consider the causes of depression in women based on their way of life, then each stage of life will have its own root causes of the development of the disease.
Research had shown that when a girl becomes a teenager, this is the age of 11-13, the level of depression begins to increase rapidly. Hormonal changes, psychological factors, personality problems lead to the development of depression, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders. If during adolescence the girl was subjected to sexual violence, the probability of developing severe clinical depression is much higher.
The behavior of women depends on hormones, the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, postnatal period, and menopause, also, they have a great impact on their mood. Infertility or the decision not to have children can also cause depression. If the woman suffers from a prolonged postpartum depression, so she experienced similar difficulties previously. The symptoms of postpartum depression are slight mood changes, bouts of blues, but this type of depression can take the form of severe illness accompanied by the inability to take care of the child. Desired pregnancy rarely causes depression. Even induced abortion does not always lead to depression and psychosomatic disorders. Postpartum depression occurs in 10-15% of women. The sources of problems are genetic factors, hormonal changes and increased the emotional and physical burden on women. The habitual way of living changes, there is huge responsibility for the child. Single mothers tend to develop depression. Husbands, suspecting postpartum depression in their wives should take steps. Otherwise, there is high risk for life both young mother and child. If the woman is already being treated for severe depression after the birth of the first child, it is more likely that childbirth will cause the same symptoms. It is important to be prepared for it and begin treatment as soon as possible.
Loneliness, alienation, loss of a spouse or friends may trigger depression in seniors. Old women tend to develop depression when left alone. The feeling of abandonment can torment women too much. It is important to look for inspiration and a sense of life, for example, while looking after grandchildren, being engaged in hobbies, gardening, and so on.