Los Angeles Christian Counseling
Women tend to multi-task various roles in their lives including being a daughter, mother, wife, caregiver, employee, friend, and much more. Every one of these individual roles has natural fluctuations. The constant switching and meshing of roles can easily give way to mood changes, stress, and hormonal issues.As a rule, these emotions rise and fall but level out in the long run. But, if you happen to be suffering from a form of depressive state, you won’t level out and your symptoms will only intensify and begin to interfere with your daily activities and interactions with others. When depression wreaks havoc in your life, it can be a one-time incident or it can also become a cycle.
Around 15 million individuals in the US alone experience symptoms of depression each and every year. Women make up the largest majority of those affected. Depression is among the top disorder for United States females and they are at twice the risk of developing it as men. In addition, women generally develop depression earlier, have it more often, and for longer periods of time than do men.
Depression and its Different Forms
If you have persistent depression to the point that it is an interference with your life and it is making it difficult or impossible to function normally, it may be a red flag for a diagnosis of clinical depression.
If you find you are having symptoms that indicate you may have depression, it is recommended that you seek a medical or counseling professional who can help add some clarity about what may be taking place and discuss suggested steps for treatment.
The following are some types of depression suffered by women:
Major Depression is a severe type of depression which affects a woman’s ability to function in daily activities such as work, raising children, and doing housework. It can cause difficulty sleeping or impact her eating habits as well. Experiencing any kind of pleasure may be quite difficult too.
The condition also usually takes a negative toll on social and interpersonal relationships. Low self-esteem is common during this time. Depression symptoms may last for long periods of time.
Postpartum Depression only occurs in women. It happens after she has given birth to a baby. This condition is far more severe than the “baby blues.” It can be very difficult for a new mother to understand and deal with, especially amid the celebration that occurs after a baby’s birth. Generalized symptoms can begin prior to the birth and can extend for months afterward.
Persistent Depressive DisorderThis type of depression may be a bit milder in form than major depression but can go on for long periods all the same. Within the realms of this disorder, an individual may be in a depressed mood and exhibit other depression symptoms and may experience major depression episodes periodically too.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMS)
PMS has become a common household word. It is often the brunt of a joke, is not taken seriously, and is used out of context. Generally speaking, women who suffer from the disorder may be moody, irritable and emotional during the time they are affected which is usually in between menstruation periods. While many women experience those symptoms, those who suffer from PMS feel the effects far worse and may be depressed during this time too. The depression almost always aligns with their period.
Those who have the full-blown depression may have serious, debilitating symptoms like huge mood swings, changes in sleep and appetite, anger, anxiety and overwhelming negative thoughts. Signs and symptoms may surface within the week before menstruation comes and go away when the period begins. The depressive symptoms are usually severe and interfere with relationships and daily activities.
Other depressions are unique to females such as peri-menopausal depression and perinatal depression. These depressions have much to do with dramatic hormonal and physical changes that go on during those life stages.
Causes of Depression in Females
Women tend to have different factors that contribute to depression than men do. Many of those factors have to do with the way they respond to stress, their reproductive hormones and their reaction to social pressures that are often placed on them. A multitude of things may play a part in female depression and it is important to get help from a counselor who specializes in this area of mental health for women.
Biological-based depression often runs within families. Although genetics can often be an indicator of who may be prone to develop depression, it cannot actually pinpoint who will and who won’t.
If an individual is noted to be at a higher level of risk for depression that certainly doesn’t mean they will actually develop the condition. There are actually factors that are set in place that can reduce the chance of getting depression such as healthy social and family relationships which can increase a person’s resistance to depression.
Other hormonal and biological risk factors can increase the chance you may suffer from a depressive condition such as issues with fertility, pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause. Usually, there are greater risks when hormonal imbalances and fluctuations in reproductive hormones abound.
Dealing with unrelated chronic pain, illness, drastic life changes, health problems, disability and other stress factors can spur the symptoms of depression to develop in females, especially when coupled with hormonal factors.
As a rule, women are more apt to suffer from psychological roots than men when it comes to depression. Women tend to are usually more emotionally geared and have the tendency to freely express their emotions.For this reason, females may be more prone to hash and rehash unhealthy thoughts and negative feelings when depression episodes strike. This can make matters worse and cause the condition to last longer too.
A negative self-image in regards to the physical body size and shape can induce depression more commonly in females than in males. When stressed, females can have high levels of progesterone, a hormone that can inhibit stress-relieving hormones.
Women are different when it comes to social situations too. A female’s skills in coping with stress-related issues, relationship choices, decisions having to do with lifestyles and many other factors can have a totally different impact on a woman than on a man.
Childhood abuse, mood disorders from the past and the substance abuse can also contribute to female depression.
Common Depression Symptoms in Women
Although anyone can have symptoms and signs of depression, they are not always experienced the same in any two individuals. The symptoms and severity can vary in frequency, intensity, and presentation and can even manifest in combination with the given symptoms.
Below are a number of depression symptoms in women that are seen the most often:
- Feeling empty, sad, in despair, and hopeless
- Feelings guilty, irritable, worthless, and anxious
- Feeling very tired and exhausted
- Losing interest in activities that used to be enjoyable
- Inability to make decisions, remember details, or to concentrate
- Preoccupation with thoughts of suicide, death and/or attempts of suicide
- Sleep disturbances; sleeping too much or too little, insomnia
- Excessive hunger or loss of appetite
- Lack of energy
- Physical symptoms like digestive issues, aches and pains, headaches, cramps, breast tenderness, chronic pain, and bloating
- Feeling powerless
- Panic attacks
- Disinterest in relationships and daily activities
- Feeling sad and tearful or crying excessively
- Feeling tense
How Women’s Depression Can Differ from Men’s
In many cases, female depression symptoms can be different than in men. Some of those ways include:
- May turn to food and to friends in an unhealthy attempt to medicate themselves
- Are prone to feel lethargic and nervous
- May feel scared and abandoned
- Often self-blame where their depression symptoms are concerned
- May have feelings of worthlessness, sadness and be apathetic
- Tend to attempt to avoid conflicts during depression
- Are more likely to voice their feelings of despair and self-doubt
- May turn to destructive habits like TV, sex, sport, or drugs and alcohol
- Often feel restless and agitated
- Tend to be guarded when they feel depressed
- May blame others for the symptoms they more often than women do
- Often exhibit anger and irritability
- May create conflicts during times of depression
- Tend to hide their feelings that they consider to be weaknesses
Of course, the factors mentioned above are not always true but they do demonstrate, as a rule, how men and women commonly react differently to depression.
Some of the difference can be due to hormonal variances between males and females and physical changes women go through, like giving birth.
Social norms also play a role in the difference in how men and women react to depression. Women are more likely, within our society, to speak of their symptoms while men typically feel more need to be strong and tough instead.
What to Do About Your Symptoms of Depression
Perhaps you suspect that you have symptoms of depression but aren’t sure what to do. You may even be able to identify the problem as being hormonal or due to the stresses faced as a female in society.
It is imperative if you are, or become, pregnant, that you consult your doctor if medication is to be a part of your treatment.
If you are prescribed medicine, whether it is to treat or to lessen the severity of depression, it is vital that you make it known if you experience any side effects, physically or emotionally.
Studies indicate that counseling is an extremely effective form of treatment and that individuals those do who seek out treatment very have high rates of success. Locating a counselor who you can connect with can make a huge difference in your recovery. You want one who will work with you diligently to increase the likelihood you will find timely relief.
Good self-care habits are recommended along with finding professional counseling help. By taking better care of yourself, your mood is likely to be lifted. Having people around to offer support is vital too.
Making time to meet face-to-face in a social setting is a must. Just relying on social media and other less than personal tools can work against you if you never see anyone in person. Paying close attention to your exercise, nutrition, and sleep routines is very important as well. Spiritual practices and beliefs, practicing meditation, and other techniques for relaxation are beneficial too.
If you suspect you’re suffering from depression, it’s wise to reach out so you can get treatment. Around two-thirds of all people who suffer from depression don’t get the assistance they so badly need. Acting now and not waiting is the very best thing you can do so your symptoms don’t take over and make the situation even worse and more overwhelming.
Seeking a professional in the mental health field can greatly help you to identify and explore the roots which may be part of the condition. Formal diagnosis should be left up to mental health experts so they can help you take steps to treat your depression if it is present.
It’s important not to forget that although depression can have different effects on different people, even severe depression can be treated. Changing lifestyle choices, making adjustments in self-care, medication, and psychotherapy are options for treatments that can be successful alone or when combined.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a universal treatment that works for all cases. It can take patience and persistence, trial and error to successfully find the treatment that would be most effective for you. We would be happy to meet you and to see how we can help you in your pursuit of wellness.
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