Many demographics and populations may be vulnerable to the effects of depression. Women are particularly susceptible to experiencing symptoms of depression based on biological, neurological and social differences, as well as the unique experiences, stressors and challenges they face, both during development and in life tasks. Women often blame themselves and start to feel bad about their choices or actions when things don’t go as they expected in life. This tendency to self-blame creates feelings of unworthiness which increases the risk of becoming depressed.
Women are faced with a unique set of issues which create susceptibility to depression, such as: Motherhood or pregnancy, coping with ageing parents and family, work-life balance, self esteem and body image issues, financial problems and relationship issues like abuse or the end of an intimate relationship.
Depression can affect women of all ages, in many different ways. Fluctuating hormone levels, lifestyle, diet and even socio-cultural difference may explain the gender disparity for this disorder. Women may experience depression or depressive symptoms at any stage; during puberty, pre- or post-pregnancy, during pregnancy, middle age, during and post-menopause and even in later life.
Having several of the following symptoms at the same time for more than a few months could indicate depression: Moodiness, low energy and fatigue, restlessness, hyper-sensitivity and crying spells, poor body image, disinterest in activities that used to be pleasurable, increased or decreased appetite and irregular sleep patterns. Pessimistic thinking patterns are key characteristics of depression as well. Hopeless views about your self, your relationships and the future are the triad of depressive thinking.
If you notice these signs in yourself, it is important to take action: seek counselling, talk to supportive people around you, begin doing activities again that you used to enjoy, monitor what impacts your mood and try to find solutions to life stressors. These are just some of the steps you can take to improve your depressed mood.
Article written by: Stacie Courtney-Mustaphi, Ba.Soc.Sci, MA Candidate & Cassandra Petrella, MA