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Why do More Women Suffer From Depression Than Men?

Gloria Goodwin's picture
Why do More Women Suffer From Depression Than Men?

Anyone can become depressed at any age and for a variety of different reasons. For some it's because of their genetics and individual circumstances, but for others it's due to their gender as well as outside influences. Did you know that women are more likely to be depressed than men? This is a shocking fact that many people are surprised to learn, but there's more to it than just this fact.

Depression in Men vs. Women

Women are twice as likely to suffer from depression than men. Some professionals think this is simply due to the fact that women are willing to speak about their emotions more, but the numbers speak for themselves. Around 12.4 million women in the United States suffer from depression compared to around 6 million men.

Depression in Young Women

While depression among boys and girls is generally the same, this changes when girls reach the age of 15. This is when they become twice as likely to suffer from depression as males, which is thought to be due to hormones as well as the body changing in such a dramatic manner. Although this is accepted as the general reason for the spike in depression, it's not known exactly why the risk increases so much at this time.

Women's Risk Beyond Adolescence

The risk of depression in women does not go away after adolescence. The risk actually remains high throughout the rest of the adult life that the woman will have. She will always be at higher risk than a man, but the exact reason why is not known. Many psychologists believe that women have a lot more stressful events in their life that contribute to this increase of risk, including: childbearing, marriage, child rearing and career. The emotions that a woman experiences can lead her to become depressed, especially when hormones are involved.

When Women are Most Vulnerable

Women can start developing depression during any point of their lives, but there is a certain time period when it's most likely to strike. These years are those that women are able to have children. There is also an extremely high risk of women suffering from postpartum depression, which is the time after they give birth. In fact, around 25% of women will suffer from this type of depression, which is why screening is so important.

Many women do suffer from postpartum depression, but they do not get help for it because they brush it off as "normal". Around 50% of women won't find out that they are depressed, which can result in them becoming more isolated and posing as a risk to themselves.

Are Hormones to Blame?

The hormones that a woman experiences throughout her life can affect her risk of depression at any given time. Not only will she experience raging hormones when she goes through puberty, this will continue well into her reproductive years. The constant fluctuations of hormones in her life can trigger depression and cause extreme mood changes that are difficult for her to understand. Transitioning between these emotions is difficult and can lead to certain women being more vulnerable than others.

Women who are genetically predisposed to depression may find that their hormones affect them much more than other women. This can result in developing depression, but it differs on an individual basis and there are many other factors that may be involved. Hormones are just one of the biggest considerations that psychologists make because they change the body's chemistry so much.

Hormonal shifts that women experience are not experienced by men simply because of the way they are built. This could be a huge reason why women are more likely to become depressed, and is a common theory among psychologists.

Will all Women Become Depressed?

Not all women are going to develop depression during their lives. Some are more likely than others simply because of genetics or a variety of other factors. Many researchers think that while women are more vulnerable to depression than men are, it's not exactly clear why. There are a lot of theories out there, but each woman is different and each study finds a different outcome.

The most important thing to remember is that treatment is readily available for any woman who suffers from depression. Talk therapy, psychiatrists, medications, etc., are all things that can make a difference in depression for any woman.