Why Women Are More Vulnerable To Depression

woman-EmilianrobertVicol-flickr.jpg

Depression symptoms can disrupt the lives of both men and women, but women are 50 percent more likely to develop depression than men.

The reason women are more vulnerable to this mood disorder seems to be a combination of social, psychological, hormonal, and genetic factors. Men are influenced by the same factors, but in different ways.

Factors Related To Female Depression

Genetic Factor. When depression is part of a family’s history, both male and female members are at higher risk for developing it. Women, however, are more likely to experience depression related to the stress of childhood or current traumatic events, increasing their vulnerability.

Possible Fetal Factors. Male and female brains develop differently in the womb and women’s susceptibility to depression may begin with these differences. Genetic or hormonal events occurring during fetal growth might also predispose women to depression.

Puberty Factor. The incidence of depression in both sexes is about equal before late adolescence. It is after puberty, when we have been flooded with reproductive hormones that girls become twice as likely to exhibit depression.

Mom-To-Be Factor. Difficulties conceiving a child, having a miscarriage, or an unplanned pregnancy can increase a woman's risk of depression, as can the hormonal shifts that occur throughout a pregnancy. After delivery, women experience more hormonal fluctuations while adjusting to the demands of caring for an infant—making them susceptible to temporary “blues” or severe postpartum depression.

Menopause Factor. Most women begin transitioning to menopause around the age of 40. The gradual decline of reproductive hormones is associated with increased risk of depression. Many women experience heavy bleeding or irregular periods, mood swings, hot flashes, and difficulty sleeping during this time.

Environmental Factor. A woman’s societal role of wife, mom, and caretaker for older parents, combined with the stress of work and home responsibilities, may be a factor in developing depression. Although men’s lives are stressful as well, women tend to internalize the needs and feelings of others, creating added stress and a burdensome sense of responsibility.

Source: Live Science
Photo source: Emilian Robert Vicol (@flickr)

 
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