Signs of Depression in WomenAlthough both men and women suffer with depression, the signs of depression in women are different.  Below, we look at the reasons for this and the specific symptoms affecting women.

Depression can affect anyone but women are twice as likely as men to suffer from the condition. This gender difference is found in most countries and across social groups. There are a number of reasons for this, including psychological, social and biological factors. Although there are symptoms common to both sexes, they manifest in different ways in women.

 

8 Signs of Depression in Women

 

1. Persistent sad mood, or feeling ‘empty’

Women with depression feel sad and have bouts of crying due to the emotional tension. More so than men, women spend a lot of time trying to figure out why they’re feeling the way they do. However, constant thinking and rumination have been found to make depression even worse.

 

2. Disturbed sleep

Many women with depression have disturbed sleep. It can take different forms such as difficulty getting to sleep, broken sleep or excessive sleeping.

 

3. Appetite and weight changes

Many depressed women tend eat more, (finding comfort in food), and gain weight as a result. Some women do the opposite, eating less and losing weight.

 

4. Difficulty concentrating and making decisions

Constantly worrying affects the ability to concentrate as the mind is distracted by other thoughts rather than the task in hand. Depressed women often become confused and indecisive. They can also have short term memory loss.

 

5. Loss of interest or pleasure in activities

Apathy and a lack of interest or pleasure in activities they once enjoyed is a sign of depression in women. This includes a lack of interest in sex. Daily activities like household chores, their job, and other commitments begin to feel like a heavy burden. The lack of physical and mental energy can lead to exhaustion in women.

  

6. Feeling restless

Although they feel tired and apathetic, many women feel restless and have trouble sitting still. Some depressed women tremble uncontrollably. There can be other symptoms such as sweating, palpitations and irregular breathing. Some women develop involuntary physical gestures such as touching their face, which they themselves don’t notice but other people do.

 

7. Feelings of guilt, hopelessness and worthlessness

There are a lot of pressures on girls and women in the modern world. Western culture puts huge emphasis on looks and body image which can make girls and women feel inadequate and greatly affect their sense of self-worth.

Many women are juggling their family lives and their career. The female physiological response to stress is different to that of men. Some studies have found that women are more likely than men to develop depression as a result of stress. Women produce more stress hormones than men and the female sex hormone progesterone also plays a part.

 

8. Hormonal changes

Fluctuating hormones are a large part of every woman’s life.  Certain types of depression can occur at different stages of your life.

  • Menstrual cycle

Hormonal fluctuations during the monthly cycle can cause symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Three out of every four menstruating women experience PMS. The condition can be mild or severe. Symptoms include irritability, mood swings and fatigue.

A more severe but less common form of PMS is premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Symptoms include irritability, anger, sadness, depressed mood, and suicidal thoughts.

Severe depression can disrupt a woman’s cycle so that she misses her regular periods or they stop completely.

New mothers can experience feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion, called the “baby blues.” This is normal and usually subsides within a few weeks. However, some women experience severe lasting depression known as postpartum depression. This is thought to be influenced, at least in part, by hormonal fluctuations.

The mid stage of a woman’s life is associated with dramatic physical and hormonal changes. Women in their 40s and 50s are at increased risk for depression when reproductive hormones are rapidly fluctuating.

 

Men and women both get depressed but they experience many of the symptoms differently. If you have been experiencing any of the above signs of depression in women for at least four weeks, you may be suffering from depression and should talk to your doctor.