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Depression in Women: What You Need to Know

Depression drains you of energy, hope, and drive, making it difficult to do what you need to feel better. And, for women, depression is complicated by many factors – from reproductive hormones to social pressures to the female response to stress. But while overcoming depression takes work on your part, it’s a real possibility. Though you can’t just will yourself to “snap out of it,” you do have more control than you realize. There are small steps you can begin taking that can and will make a difference. The key is to start small and build steadily from there.

What are the signs, symptoms and coping strategies for depression in women?

It’s the Catch-22 of depression: recovering from depression requires action, but taking action when you’re depressed is hard. You may not have much energy, but you probably have enough to take a short walk around the block or pick up the phone to call a loved one. The information and tips that follow are based on a research grounded comprehensive approach that helps you get support while making positive lifestyle changes. In addition to examining the actions you can take to lift your mood, it’s important to also learn about the factors that describe and cause depression in women. This understanding can help you minimize your risk, tackle the condition head on, and treat your depression effectively.

What are the signs and symptoms of depression in women?

The symptoms of depression vary from mild to severe or major depression and are distinguished by the impact they have on a woman’s ability to function. Most depression is mild or moderately disabling and responds well to actions that you can take. Common complaints include:

  • Depressed mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
  • Lack of energy and fatigue
  • Feelings of guilt, hopelessness and worthlessness
  • Appetite and weight changes
  • Sleep changes (Sleeping more or sleeping less)
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Suicidal thoughts or recurrent thoughts of death

Differences between male and female depression

Women tend to experience certain symptoms more often than men. These include seasonal affective disorder – depression in the winter months due to lower levels of sunlight. Also, women are more likely to experience the symptoms of atypical depression.

In atypical depression, rather than sleeping less, eating less, and losing weight, the opposite is seen: sleeping excessively, eating more (especially carbohydrates), and gaining weight. Feelings of guilt associated with depression are also more prevalent and pronounced in women. Women also have a higher incidence of thyroid problems. Since hypothyroidism can cause depression, this medical problem should always be ruled out by a physician in women who are depressed.

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