Many of us feel sad or depressed from time to time, but sometimes what we’re going through is more than the occasional blues. According to the Mayo Clinic approximately 1 in 5 women will experience depression at some time in their life. The causes, symptoms, and effects of depression can be different in men and women. Women experience some symptoms more than men and also experience them in different ways. The following discusses the primary symptoms of depression in women and how they sometimes differ from men.
1. Fatigue and Loss of Energy
Everyone has days when they’re tired or low on energy. But an unusual loss of energy that continues for several weeks could be a sign that an individual is depressed. Women often ignore extreme fatigue because their schedules are so busy they assume being extremely tired is natural. Some women need 8 or 9 hours of sleep each night to feel their best while others can function normally on 6 or 7. How much sleep is needed varies among individuals. When the amount a woman needs changes considerably it’s time to take notice.
2. Loss of Appetite
Loss of appetite that results in apparent weight loss when the individual isn’t trying to lose weight is cause for concern. The opposite is also sometimes a sign of depression. This is termed atypical depression. Instead of eating less the person overeats. Atypical depression is more common in women than men. This symptom of depression may be due to the individual trying to fill a void in her life with food. Carbohydrates are often the food of choice when overeating.
An inability to sleep or waking up several times throughout the night are often depression symptoms in women. Just like with loss of appetite and overeating, sleeping too much is also a symptom. This aspect of atypical depression may cause women to sleep an excessive amount of hours.
4. Constant Anxiety or Sadness
It’s normal to feel nervous before an important event or to be sad if there has been a loss in a person’s life. But when constant anxiety or general nervousness becomes a regular part of an individual’s daily life it could be a sign of depression. Continual sadness for no apparent reason is also cause for concern. Feeling anxious and sad are more likely to be symptoms of women suffering from depression. Men will more often be suspicious of others and less trusting when suffering from depression.
5. Feeling Guilty or Worthless
Lack self esteem, feeling worthless, and feeling that whatever you do it doesn’t matter is a sign that a woman may be depressed. These particular symptoms are more prevalent in women who suffer depression than in men. Women often have many roles to fulfill and can feel overwhelmed. When experiencing depression women tend to blame themselves while men are more likely to blame others.
6. Aches, Pains, and Headaches
Persistent pains that don’t go away even after seeking treatment or taking medication are symptoms of a depressed state. Several bodies of research have concluded that physical and emotional ailments are linked. Migraines can cause depression, and likewise, depression can bring about migraines.
7. Loss of Interest in Activities
This can include any activity that an individual once enjoyed, including sex. As women age they may think that losing interest in certain activities is a normal process when in reality it is a symptom of depression. According to MedicineNet.com many women don’t recognize these symptoms as depression and therefore don’t always seek the help they need.
8. Difficulty Concentrating
Someone who is depressed may have trouble thinking clearly or concentrating. Brain fog is a way it is sometimes described. A woman may become forgetful more easily when she is depressed. It may also be more difficult to make important decisions in a depressed state.
9. Thinking of or Attempting Suicide
While suicide rates are between 3 and 4 times higher for men than women, most research suggests that women attempt suicide more often than men. Any time suicide is attempted or serious thoughts regarding suicide are thought about, an individual should seek professional assistance.
Serious depression symptoms in women can worsen if left untreated. Certain medical conditions that are more common in women and can cause depression should be checked for. An example of this would be thyroid conditions. Other causes of depression that are unique for women include postpartum depression. If a woman is experiencing any number of these symptoms she should seek professional medical help as well as the support of friends and family members.