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Depression in women

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It’s a fact that women are more prone to depression than men. According to National Mental Health Association, “about one in every eight women will develop depression at some point during her lifetime”. Thus, you can realize that depression is very common among women. However, that down swing of your mood can have a serious negative impact in your life.


What are the symptoms of depression in women?

Characteristic symptoms of depression are: 

  • General feeling of being depressed i.e. sad, guilty, emptiness, hopeless, irritation and anger
  • Lack of energy, interest and enthusiasm towards doing anything
  • Feeling tired and exhausted all the time
  • Sleeplessness or sleeping too much
  • Suppressed appetite or overeating
  • Lack of concentration, restlessness, fidgety behaviour
  • Dark thoughts in mind like suicide, hurting self etc.
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Puffy eyes, redness in eyes, or dark circles
  • Headache, muscle pain, body ache


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What causes depression in women?

There are several reasons why a woman suffers from depression. Some common situations that lead to depression are:   

  • To ruminate about the happenings of life, personal differences, career stagnation, negative growth
  • Stress stemming from too much work at home office, multiple responsibilities, financial problems, etc.
  • Lack of self confidence, dissatisfaction with self image and appearance
  • Due to hormonal changes before menstruation ( premenstrual dysphoric disorder-PMDD or PMS), during perimenopause or menopause
  • Side effects of hormonal treatments or other medicines
  • Unwanted pregnancy, infertility, miscarriage, etc.
  • Postpartum depression or baby blues
  • Side effect of chronic illness like cancer
  • From addictions like smoking, alcoholism or illicit drug use


Diagnosis of depression in women

Your co-operation with doctor is crucial for proper diagnosis of the condition. You need open up before him/her about the problems you are facing, pertaining to the aforementioned causes. It is then your doctor would be able to figure out the exact reason behind the depression. Apart from presenting the complete history of symptoms, medical history, and the medicines you are taking, let your doctor know if there’s history of depression in your family. 

Depending upon the physical and psychological analysis, your doctor will further suggest other lab tests.


Treatment for depression in women

Your doctor would not prescribe anti-depressants in the first go or unless it’s a severe case of depression. Low doses of anti-depressants would be prescribed initially.

Cognitive behavioural therapy and counselling are mostly opted for to improve quality of life. Apart from that, your doctor might also ask you to stop taking the medicines or alter the dose of the pills which are causing the depression.

Special guidance would be given to pregnant mothers, menopausal women or those suffering from postpartum depression.


Coping with depression at home

If you haven’t tried the following self-help strategies, then try it now! 

  • Share your feelings/ problems with your close friend, sibling, or family member on whom you can confide in
  • Bend your thoughts to raise hope and be optimistic. You can take counselling classes or read self help books. Do not think that you are depressed!
  • Do not isolate self- rather engage yourself with your friends, join hobby classes like dancing, cooking, crafts, etc. divert your mind
  • If you are pregnant or have a newly born baby, then keep a caretaker to help you out and share responsibilities with your spouse.
  • Try relaxation techniques- body massage, spa treatments, meditation and yoga
  • Lastly get rid of bad addictions at all cost.

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: May 27, 2014