It is twice as likely that women will suffer from depression than men. This disparity persists across financial, cultural, and racial divides. In fact, this rate of gender disparity in depression rates duplicates itself in almost every country across the globe.
There are a variety of reasons and theories as to why women suffer through depression more than men. Several factors have been implicated in this list, including social, psychological, and biological reasons.
Biological and hormonal changes
- Pre-menstrual problems – During the menstrual cycle, hormonal changes can end up causing symptoms such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and a woman might experience bloating, petulance, disturbing reactivity, tiredness, and fatigue. However, PMS for many women is mild. But in a few cases, the symptoms can be quite severe, so much so as to interrupt their normal day activities. This is when the diagnosis for premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is made.
- Infertility and pregnancy issues – During pregnancy, a lot of hormonal alterations occur that may contribute to depression, and it turns into quite a big risk. The other problems that usually occur relating to pregnancy are unwanted pregnancy, miscarriage, and infertility, which can lead to depression in some women.
- Post-partum depression – Some mothers who have just given birth undergo the feeling of the “baby blues.” This tends to be a normal phase that sinks away within a few weeks’ time. Yet in a few women the condition may be persistent, severe, and longer lasting, spiraling into depression.
- Menopause and perimenopause – At the stage of perimenopause, there are many women who stand the chance of being affected with depression; this is the stage that leads to menopause. At this period, there is vigorous fluctuation of the reproductive hormones. Women who have had experienced depression issues in the past stand a high risk of being hit by depression again at the menopausal phase.
- To keep rehashing or dwelling on negative feelings – Women tend to think and reflect a lot when they get depressed. This mostly leads towards crying to mitigate emotional nervousness, trying to understand why and what is the reason for getting depressed, and continuously talking and discussing with friends about one’s depression. On the other hand, men usually try to distract themselves, and this lowers the risk of depression in men.
- Extreme stress and pressure at school, home, or work – Studies show that women tend to release more stress hormones as compared to men. Also progesterone, which is the female sex hormone, thwarts the stress hormone system from turning itself off, while in the case of men, it is just the opposite.
- Problems relating to body image – At the phase of adolescence, gender difference in depression occurs. At the phase of puberty, the surfacing of sex differences plays a huge role. A few studies have depicted body discontent or dissatisfaction, which is common in girls during the sexual development of puberty.
- Relationship or marital issues, failing to balance personal and career stages effectively
- Continuous monetary issues
- Death of someone very close or a traumatic life event that leaves one feeling helpless, worthless, vulnerable, alone, or intensely sad.