Women & Depression

 

Women are twice as likely as men to suffer from depression. Women are also three times as likely to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder and three times as likely to attempt suicide during their reproductive years.

Before adolescence, depression is rare and occurs at about the same rate in girls and boys. However, with the onset of puberty, a girl's risk of developing depression increases dramatically to twice that of boys. Studies also show an elevated increase in depression throughout a woman's reproductive years.

While many factors contribute to the higher occurrence of depression among women, research shows the natural rise and fall of female reproductive hormone levels that occur throughout a woman's life can directly impact a woman's mental and emotional wellbeing.

It is also important to note that transgender men (pre and post transition) face additional challenges that influence symptoms of depression, anxiety, rage, and suicidality as a result of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and/or continued ovulation cycles.  

Symptoms of bipolar disorder include mood swings, sadness, anger, anxiety, apathy, hopelessness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, unwanted thoughts, delusion, lack of concentration, racing thoughts, and more. These symptoms are also present in women living with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD).

PMDD is the clinical term to describe a woman's severe negative cognitive and emotional response to the natural rise and fall of the female reproductive hormones: estrogen and progesterone. 

It is important that women seeking help for cyclical symptoms of depression, rage, anxiety, and intrusive thoughts about self-harm are properly screened for PMDD.