Depression in Women
Twice as many women as men are affected by depression. Women are at an increased risk of depression if they have a family history of the condition, a chemical imbalance or changes in the brain chemistry, or another medical illness, such as a stroke, cancer, or Parkinson's disease. Signs of depression can include difficulty staying focused, remembering, or making decisions. Fortunately, most women get better when they get treatment for depression.
An Overview of Depression in Women
Depression is an illness that affects the body, mood, and thoughts. About twice as many women suffer from depression as do men. Depression can be described as feeling sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps. Most of us feel this way at one time or another for short periods. But true clinical depression (also known as major depression) is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interfere with everyday life for an extended period. The condition can be mild, moderate, or severe. The degree of depression, which your healthcare provider can determine, influences how you are treated.
Statistics on Women and DepressionThe following statistics on depression in women come from the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH):
- One in four women will experience severe depression at some point in life.
- Depression affects twice as many women as men, regardless of racial and ethnic background or income.
- Depression is the number one cause of disability in women.
- In general, married women experience depression more than single women do, and depression is common among young mothers who stay at home full-time with small children.
- Women who are victims of sexual and physical abuse are at much greater risk of depression.
- At least 90 percent of all cases of eating disorders occur in women, and there is a strong relationship between eating disorders and depression.
- Depression can put women at risk of suicide. While more men than women die from suicide, women attempt suicide about twice as often as men do.
- Only about one-fifth of all women who suffer from depression seek treatment.