Women over the age of 40 go through a lot of different changes that can result in developing depression. While this isn't the case with all women, there is a higher risk of suffering once this age is reached. If you are nearing 40 and want to learn more about this, then read these facts. These can make you more aware of what your body is going through and what signs to look out for when it comes to depression.
Fact #1: Depression Peaks After 40
From ages 40-64 there's a spike in women who are diagnosed with depression as well as many other mental health issues. In fact, 15% of women in this age group will develop depression, which was found by a study done by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Unfortunately this number is probably higher than this, especially since a lot of women feel that the depression they experience is "normal" and there's no reason for them to report it to a healthcare professional.
The age of women with the highest level of depression is 44, but many women do not realize this. they feel that changes in their hormones is something that is to be expected. Unfortunately this can lead to even further depression, which can quickly put a woman in danger of herself.
Fact #2: Depression After 40 Increases Risk of Suicide
Both women and men ages 45-54 have the highest rate of suicide, which can be a result if undiagnosed and untreated depression. Any woman who feels like she is at risk of being depressed should see her doctor right away to get tested and discuss treatments. There are a lot of ways to get help, so there's no reason women shouldn't take advantage of what's available.
Fact #3: Menopause Can Be to Blame
Menopause affects the hormones of a woman after she is past a certain age, which is when many develop depression. Athough menopause isn't the only reason a woman will develop depression at this age, it's believed to be one of the biggest factors. When the hormones are changing so rapidly and the body is imbalanced, depression can be easy to delve into, especially for women who are going through other issues in their life.
Even though most women don't go through menopause until they reach the age of 50-51, their body is going to start changing several years before that. Her estrogen levels will vary, the chemicals in the brain will begin to change and all of that can lead to depression being developed.
Fact #4: Some Women are at Higher Risk
Women who have a family history of depression or that have a mental illness may be at a higher risk of developing depression when they reach and exceed the age of 40. These things affect the way the brain is balanced with chemicals and further changes can make those problems worse. Most women will be able to tell a difference with their mood, but the majority will brush it off as hormonal changes and nothing more than that.
Fact #5: Stress Increases Risk
Women who are over the age of 40 have a lot of stresses going on in their lives. Not only are they dealing with changes in their body, they are also dealing with children that are turning into adults. These combined with the stress of a job and other things going in life can increase the risk of a woman developing depression. Each woman is different, though, which is why visiting a doctor is important after reaching this age.
Knowing the Signs of Depression
Whether you fear depression for yourself or a loved one, it's important to be able to recognize the signs. Just keep in mind that all women are different and each will display different signs.
- Feelings of hopelessness
- No desire to get out of bed
- Weight loss/gain
- Change in mood
- Problems sleeping
These are some of the most common symptoms of depression, but there are many others. Remember that just because a woman is over 40 doesn't mean she will automatically become depressed. There are a lot of factors that come into play and it differs for each person. But, if you or someone you know is displaying these signs, then seek professional help as soon as you can.