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Differences Between Women and Men in Depression Symptoms

By Guest Author On July 13, 2011 Under Improve Your Life, Improve Your Self Esteem, Self Improvement, Setting Goals

Signs and Symptoms of Depression: Differences Between Women and Men

By Michael Korson, MFT, CGP

While the experience of depression can be very comparable for men and women , there are some gender differences that are worth detailing.  Factors that influence a woman becoming depressed may perhaps be different than for a man, and the way a man experiences and responds to depression may be different.

Depression is more common among women than among men. Biological, life cycle , hormonal and psychosocial factors unique to women might be linked to women’s greater rate of depression . Researchers have found that hormones specifically affect brain chemistry that controls mood and emotions . For example, women are particularly vulnerable to depression after childbirth , when physical and hormonal changes, along with the new responsibility of caring for a newborn , can in combination be overpowering. Many new mothers experience a brief period of the “baby blues,” but some develop postpartum depression, a much more serious condition that requires emotional support and active treatment .

Some women can also be susceptible to a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), often called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a condition resulting from the hormonal changes that usually occur around ovulation and before menstruation begins. During the transition into menopause, some women experience an increased risk for depression.

Long Term Treatment for Anxiety and Depression

Men often experience depression differently than women and can have different ways of coping with the symptoms. Men are more likely to acknowledge having irritability, fatigue , loss of interest in once–pleasurable activities, and sleep disturbances , whereas women are more likely to confess to feelings of sadness, worthlessness and/or excessive guilt.

Men are more likely than women to turn to drugs or alcohol when they are depressed, or become discouraged, frustrated , angry, irritable and sometimes abusive. Some men throw themselves into their work to avoid talking about their depression with family or friends , or engage in risky or reckless behavior.  It may be more difficult for a man to admit to these feelings, believing that doing so makes him less “manly” and able to cope with his problems. Though more women attempt suicide, many more men die through suicide in the United States .

While these differences between the genders exist, treatment options remain the same for both men and women . Anyone suffering with symptoms of depression should seek help from a professional. With proper treatment and help, women and men can manage depression and live satisfying and meaningful lives.

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