A lot of people don't realize that depression can happen to women no matter what age they are. They also don't realize that depression is higher in women who are over the age of 40, especially as they approach menopause in their 50s. If you are a woman or have one in your life, then it's important to understand the signs of depression in women of this age. These do differ from signs of depression in younger women, but each person is different with those that they display.
Symptom #1: Change in Sleep
Change in sleep is common for women who are experiencing depression. This can mean not being able to fall asleep, but it could also mean not being able to sleep all the way through the night. A lot of older women also describe having nightmares when they go to sleep, which is something they didn't experience in the past.
Symptom #2: Keeping up Appearances
Some older women who become depressed don't feel the need to keep up their appearance like they did before. This might mean she stops putting on makeup when she used to, but it could also mean she doesn't get her hair done like she did before. There are also some women that just don't feel the need to get dressed because they want to stay in bed all day long.
Not showering is another sign of a woman who is depressed, especially if she used to shower daily. In addition to this, some depressed women will stop washing their clothes and just throw on anything they can find on the floor. It's easy to see a woman who is depressed, especially if she looks different from how she used to before.
Symptom #3: Lack of Care for Pets, Home and Family
Neglecting to take care of pets, children, family members and even a spouse is another sign that an older woman is depressed. She won't feel the need to take care of things like she used to, and those that she does take care of won't be given a lot of care or thought. This is generally a result of her feeling isolated and like she isn't loved. A lot of loved ones will take this personally, which can trigger conflict and push the woman down even more into depression as a result.
So, if a woman has a dirty home or the animals aren't fed, then she could be showing signs of depression. But, it could also be something as simple as her not washing the clothes for her kids or forgetting to pick them up from soccer practice. There are a lot of ways she can become neglectful of things she used to put care and effort into.
Symptom #4: Mood Swings
Mood swings are common for women due to their hormones, but at this point in life extreme mood changes should be red flags. This means that the woman will be fine one minute and extremely angry or sad the next. These types of mood changes will not be consistent and will occur out of the blue. This is one huge sign of depression for most women, especially after they reach the age of 50.
Symptom #5: Chang in Sexual Desires
A woman's sex drive will generally decrease as she gets older, but if this suddenly changes, then it could be a symptom of depression. This sign generally should only be taken into consideration if other signs of depression are being displayed. Sexual changes are common, so they shouldn't be the only thing that you take into account when determining if someone has depression or not.
Symptom #6: Crying
Not all women who are depressed sit around and cry all day, but this seems to be a common occurrence with women who are older. While she might not cry all day long, you will notice that she cries more in different situations, even those that aren't sad. This could even mean her crying for no reason in particular, but just because she feels sad.
Depression in women over 50 is a complex issue that not even psychiatrists understand completely. It's just important to realize that if you recognize symptoms in yourself or someone else, that you should seek help immediately. Suicide rates are the highest for this age group, which means depressed women over 50 pose a greater risk to themselves.