Did you know that women are 5 times more likely to develop depression than men? But don’t let that get you down, ladies! We’ll list a couple of reasons why you have a greater risk of developing the blues than your hubby, and some helpful strategies to deal with it.
Let’s start with the facts first: what are some of the main factors that contribute to depression in women? It’s vitally important that you don’t feel bad about feeling bad! A lot of the time, your mood isn’t completely under your control, but help is available.
These are some of the most common causes of depression in women:
- Biological – Changing hormones, particularly during puberty, pregnancy and post-pregnancy.
- Social – Many things can lead to depression: physical abuse, sexual abuse, job loss, loss of a parent at a young age, relationship stress, separation and divorce.
- Medical – Are you taking any medication at the moment? Depression could be one of the side-effects! Some examples of medication that can potentially cause the blues include: Accutane (treatment for severe acne), benzodiazepines (treatment for anxiety), beta-blockers (treatment for heart conditions), oestrogens (hormone-replacement treatment for menopause), and statins (treatment for cholesterol). It’s important to note that these drugs aren’t exhaustive, and while they might not be a direct cause of your depression, they could be contributing to it.
- Life-stage – We all know the big “M” word in this case, don’t we? Well, menopause can also bring on symptoms of depression.
How do I know I’m actually depressed, and not just down?
Most people get “the blues” or feel down at some stage of their lives; when they feel sad or lonely, if they’re grieving the loss of a loved one, or if they’re going through a particularly difficult time of their life. And for most people, those feelings subside and life goes on as normal.
But sometimes, those feelings persist, or get worse, and they start interfering with daily life. Suddenly, things that seemed so normal and easy to do make you feel as though you need to run a marathon in the pouring rain just to get them done. If you feel like this more often than not, then you could be depressed.
Some of the most common symptoms of depression include:
- Feeling persistently sad, anxious or empty
- Loss of interest in things they used to enjoy (activities, hobbies, sex)
- Feeling restless, irritable or emotional
- Feeling guilty, worthless, helpless and generally negative
- Sleeping too much, or too little
- Overeating or loss of appetite, resulting in weight gain or weight loss.
- Lack of energy, feeling fatigued
- Having thoughts of suicide or self-harm
- Difficulty concentrating or focusing on daily tasks (home, work etc.)
- Recurring physical symptoms such as headaches, chronic pain and digestive disorders that don’t respond to over the counter treatment.
Does this sound like you? It’s vital that you see a doctor! Remember, depression can be treated and overcome, and the sooner you get help for it the better. Don’t be misguided into thinking that your symptoms will simply “go away” – that’s rarely the case. In fact, long-term depression, especially in women, can lead to other serious conditions such as drug and alcohol addiction.
Want to find out more about your symptoms, or think you could be suffering from depression? Why not speak to one of our doctors? Simply sign up on our website, and download the free Hello Doctor app from the Google Play or iTunes store. With the app, you can talk to, or text our doctors, anytime, anywhere!