Proper treatment would alleviate the symptoms in over 80 percent of the cases. Yet, because depression is often unrecognized, depressed individuals often continue to suffer needlessly.
Women are almost twice as likely as men to experience depression. Research continues to explore how this psychological problem affects women. At the same time, it is important for women to increase their awareness of what is already known about depression, so that they seek early and appropriate treatment.
Major depression and dysthymia affect twice as many women as men. This two-to-one ratio exists regardless of racial and ethnic background or economic status. The same ratio has been reported in eleven other countries all over the world. Men and women have about the same rate of bipolar disorder (manic depression), though its course in women typically has more depressive and fewer manic episodes. Also, a greater number of women have the rapid cycling form of bipolar disorder, which may be more resistant to standard treatments.
Many factors unique to women are suspected to play a role in developing depression. Research is focused on understanding these factors, including: reproductive, hormonal, genetic or other biological factors; abuse and oppression; interpersonal factors; and certain psychological and personality characteristics. But, the specific causes of depression in women remain unclear. Many women exposed to these stress factors do not develop depression. Remember, depression is a treatable psychological problem, and treatment is effective for most women
The Dimensions of Depression in Women
Adolescence:_ Studies show that the higher incidence of depression in females begins in adolescence, when roles and expectations change dramatically. The stresses of adolescence include forming an identity, confronting sexuality, separating from parents, and making decisions for the first time, along with other physical, intellectual, and hormonal changes. These stresses are generally different for boys and girls, and may be associated more often with depression in females. Some researchers have suggested that men and women differ in their expression of emotional problems. In adolescence, boys are more likely to develop behavioral and substance abuse problems, while girls are more likely to become depressed.
Adulthood: relationships and work roles
Stress can contribute to depression in many people. The higher incidence of depression in women may not be due to greater vulnerability, but to the particular stresses that many women face. These stresses include major responsibilities at home and work, single parenthood, and caring for children and aging parents. Social expectations play a role here as well. In two career families, women are more likely to have responsibility for a greater share of child care and household responsibilities. Role conflict is also an issue, as debate continues regarding whether women need to choose between family and work responsibilities, and about which choice is the "proper" one.
Reproductive events:- Women's reproductive events include the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, the post pregnancy period, infertility, menopause, and sometimes, the decision not to have children. These events bring fluctuations in mood that for some women include