Depression is a mood disorder that may be severe enough to impair your daily ability to function, concentrate, sleep, or find the motivation to complete tasks. This potentially debilitating condition is more common among women than men, likely due to specific biological, hormonal, and social factors.
If you are struggling with emotions like hopelessness, worthlessness, or thoughts of self-harm, well-meaning loved ones may suggest that you try to combat depression with the power of positive thinking. Still, depression is not a temporary bad mood or something you can snap out of. It’s a mental illness that requires targeted treatment to overcome.
Do You Need a Depression Screening?
While most people associate persistent sadness with depression, some people with depression do not feel sad at all. In addition to emotional symptoms, you may have several inexplicable physical symptoms, such as aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems. Someone with depression may also struggle with chronic fatigue, insomnia, and oversleeping.
If you think you might be depressed, schedule a screening with your general practitioner or a psychiatrist. When describing your experience, be honest and concise. Your health provider will likely want to know when you started noticing symptoms, if anything triggers them, how long they last, how often they occur, if they change in severity, and if they interfere with your usual activities. You may want to write down some notes about your symptoms and bring them with you to your appointment.
Some Forms of Depression Are Unique to Women
Specific kinds of depression can occur at different stages of women’s lives, often due to milestone events like pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause.
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder: PMDD entails an assortment of severe symptoms that can disrupt your ability to work or fulfill other essential responsibilities. Many women living with PMDD also have anxiety or depression, and these disorders may compound each other.
- Maternal depression: New mothers can experience feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and fatigue that may make it hard for them to look after themselves and their babies.
- Perimenopausal depression: Transitioning into menopause can be challenging, with uncomfortable issues like hot flashes, mood swings, and problems sleeping. You may also have trouble enjoying formerly beloved hobbies when going through menopause, which could indicate perimenopausal depression.
Treating Depression in Women
Women experience depression at nearly twice the rate of men. While researchers have yet to pinpoint a reason for this, it’s likely due to a complex mix of genetic, environmental, and societal variables. Other biological factors and unique life experiences may increase your risk of becoming depressed at some point in your life. Fortunately, even the most severe depression cases can respond well to treatment – often, a combination of professional therapy and medication. Since there is no one-size-fits-all approach to addressing depression and its related symptoms, it may take you some trial and error to find a solution that works best for you.
At Lakeside-Milam, our health professionals understand depression and other mental health issues, and we also know these illnesses frequently co-occur alongside substance use disorders, compounding each other in a vicious cycle. Learning about your dual diagnosis is the best way to determine if you need to seek help. When you call us, our caring admissions team will answer all your questions and explain the treatment options that can help you reclaim your life.