Depression can happen to anyone of any age. It affects almost 19 million Americans each year, and up to one in five American women will suffer from clinical depression at some point in their lives. Women are twice as likely as men to suffer from depression. Many women first experience symptoms of depression during their 20s and 30s. It is important to identify depression and recognize its symptoms because when left untreated, it can lead to more severe health problems such as increased risk of heart attack.
Depression in Women
Depression in women is defined as a mental state in which one experiences feelings of extreme despondency and sadness and is
sometimes termed clinical depression. While temporary bouts of depressed moods can occur in women, clinical depression is considerably more severe. Depression is also one of the 34 symptoms of menopause.
Menopause is a stage in women's lives, usually occurring between the ages of 40-50, in which a woman may suffer from a number of symptoms due to an imbalance in hormone levels. Hormones play a critical role in a woman's body, and during menopause the hormonal glands lose the ability to reproduce these important chemicals. Such an imbalance can greatly affect a woman's body and cause menopausal symptoms such as depression.
The Different Types of Depression
There are different types of depression in women, some of which are listed below:
Major depression. Identifiable by extreme feelings of sadness for a period longer than 2 weeks.
Dysthymic disorder. Less serious than major depression in women, but with longer lasting effects. Some studies have shown that it can last for up to 2 years.
Adjustment disorder. This form of depression occurs as a direct result of a specific traumatic event and can last for varying periods of time.
Treatment Methods for Depression
Different forms of treatment exist for women seeking relief from this potentially dangerous menopausal symptom. If the cause of depression in women is identified as psychological, therapy is usually prescribed. However, if the cause is physical, a range of treatments that can balance hormone levels are usually the answer. Such treatment methods can come in the form of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which is used by millions of women around the world. However, HRT has recently been linked to serious side effects and should usually be considered as a last resort.
For more information on depression during menopause and how to treat it safely and naturally, follow the links below.
- Boyles, Salynn, and Dr. Louise Change. (n.d). "Nearing Menopause? Depression a Risk". Retrieved from www.webmd.com
- University Health Services.(n.d)."Clinical Depression". Retrieved from www.uhs.wisc.edu
- University of Michigan Depression Center. (n.d)."Women and Depression: Menopause". Retrieved from www.med.umich.edu.