Women and Depression: What You Need to Know
Depression is a common mental condition which can plague women of all ages. In fact, 23% of women in their 40s and 50s take anti-depressants, which is the highest of any other demographic by age or sex. Here is what you need to know about women and depression:
- Menopausal women and depression. Many women experience depression as a result of menopause. This could explain why so many women in their 40s and 50s are prescribed anti-depressants.
- The many symptoms of menopause. Low mood resulting from menopause can be a result of many factors. Lack of energy, low sex drive, poor concentration, fitful sleep, and weight gain are just a few of the symptoms which can trouble women during menopause.
- Loss of confidence. Most importantly going through menopause can sometimes chip away at a woman’s mood or self-worth. She might feel as though she is losing her femininity or her sexuality. All of this can trouble her mood and her relationship.
- Depression can sometimes occur with a co-existing mental condition. It’s not uncommon for depression to be accompanied by such another mental condition such as anxiety, a panic disorder, or an eating disorder. Research shows that women are more likely than men to experience a co-existing anxiety disorder along with their depression, so it’s important to make sure that other issues are addressed along with depression.
- Depression can lead to feelings of fatigue and low energy. Since depression can make women feel lethargic and exhausted, it can be difficult to be active and do things that you enjoy. However, this can be a vicious cycle: The less you exercise and spend time with loved ones, the worse your depression can get. Try to stay active by doing yoga or going for walks with a friend or loved one—It might be like a small step but it can do wonders for your mental health.
- Depression can cause problems in your relationship. Many people find that depression can negatively impact their relationship, and as they become more and more disconnected from their partner, their depression only deepens. Consider seeking couples’ therapy along with individual therapy during this time, and communicate to your partner about what is happening. It’s important for your partner to get informed about depression and realize that it is not his fault and that it is not your fault either.
- Depression can sap your sex life. Depression can chip away at your sexual desire, and ironically, many of the anti-depressants used to treat depression can as well. However, you should never stop taking your medication for this reason—instead, talk to your doctor about your medication options, as there might be a prescription that is right for you that has less sexual side effects.
- Depression isn’t a fact of aging. Just because many women experience depression as they age does NOT mean that it is simply a natural part of aging. You should never overlook symptoms of depression and if you are or someone you love is depressed, please seek help from a mental health professional health in your area immediately.