Causes, Symptoms and Treatment for Women's Depression

Although often perceived as the weaker sex, women endure many difficult, important roles throughout their lives – mother, wife, employee, friend, employers, caregiver, and the list goes on. The complexity of all these roles can cause pleasant emotions as well as stress. Some of these mood swings may be due to unfortunate life events or due to a hormone imbalance.

In general, after a few days, emotions tend to level out and you are not affected by the mood swings anymore. But if you are suffering from depression, your bad mood doesn’t just go away after a few days and may interfere with your relationships and daily life. This debilitating cycle can occur due to a number of causes. Symptoms can last weeks, months, or even years and can be an intermittent or one-time occurrence.

Types of women's depression

Depression is almost twice more likely to affect women than men and tends to be caused by different reasons in women than it does in men. Such contributing factors include poor gut health, reproductive hormones, different female response to stress, and social pressure that are unique to a woman’s life experiences.

Major depression

Major depression is a severe form of depression when a woman loses her ability to find pleasure in activities once considered enjoyable. The condition affects a woman’s ability to sleep and eat normal and brings a negative impact on interpersonal and social relationships. With a major depression disorder, your depressed state may persist for an extended period of time and is often accompanies with low self-esteem.

Postpartum depression

A depression that occurs after the birth of a baby. Typical symptoms of depression begin during the months after the birth of a child, while in some women, they can occur while still pregnant.

Persistent depressive disorder

Persistent depressive disorder is considered a milder form of depression. Major depressive episodes may still occur during persistent depressive disorder.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder

This type of depression is tied to women’s menstrual cycle. During this form of depression, severe mood swings, anxiety, and negative thoughts present themselves in the week prior to the start of menstruation and dissipate once the menstrual period begins. Although lasting only for a short period of time, depressive symptoms are severe enough to negatively impact the interpersonal relationship and interfere with daily activities.

Causes in women’s depression

There are numerous genetic, hormonal, psychological, and social factors that come into play when citing the cause of depression in women.

Biology and hormones

Biologically speaking, depression is a gene that runs in the families – with scientific evidence that some genetic makeups are more prone to depression, whereas some generic makeups are more resistant to it. However, environmental factors also play a huge part in your well-being. That is, just because you may be more prone to depression because of your genes, healthy family and social relationships can increase resilience.

Other biological factors, such as issues with pregnancy, fertility, perimenopause, menopause, and menstrual cycles increase women’s risk factors for developing depression. Most of these are due to hormonal imbalances and rapid fluctuations in reproductive hormones. Some risk-induced behavior, such as smoking or dieting can also prompt depression in women.

Psychological causes

With a tendency to be more emotional, women are more prone to psychological causes of depression than men and they are more likely to rehash negative thoughts during bouts of depression.

Major psychological factors that tend to affect women more than men are negative body images and stress-induced depression. Women are more prone to stress than men because their increased levels of progesterone have been shown to now have such good ability to level out stress hormones. Negative body image issues typically begin in adolescence and seem to be correlated with the onset of puberty.

Social Causes

Relationship, lifestyle choices, and coping skills affect women differently than men. As a woman, you are more likely to develop depression from martial or relationship problems, work-life balance issues, financial troubles, and stressful life events, including a loss of a loved one.

In addition to the biological, social and psychological causes mentioned above, the National Institutes of Health indicated that the following also play a trigger factor of women’s depression:

•    Death of a parent before age 10

•    Divorce, relationship problems, job loss

•    Physical or sexual abuse during childhood

•    History of mood disorders

•    Use of certain medications

Antidepressant addiction

Your doctor may prescribe you antidepressants to help you cope and to lessen the symptoms of your depression. Unlike three decades ago, doctors prescribe these dangerous medications for non-depression diagnoses, such as anxiety, insomnia, and neuropathic pain. Many people unnecessarily take these drugs, believing that just because they are prescribed by a doctor they are safe. However, dangers of doing so include facing the risk of harsh symptoms from antidepressant withdrawal and even addiction.

Treatment

If you are a woman suffering from depression, it is best to seek treatment right away. Your first step should be visiting a doctor or mental health professional. The most common treatment options for women suffering from depression include therapy and medications. It is important you tell your doctor if you are pregnant or may become pregnant during the treatment as certain medications may affect your growing baby.