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Published on: May 11, 2009
by Marks Psychiatry:
Women are twice as likely as men to suffer major depression, according to a new report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Analyzing the most recent research on women’s mental health issues, the report, Action Steps for Improving Women’s Mental Health, examines the role gender plans in treating and coping with mental illness issues such as depression, anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder brought on by trauma and violence.
Analysis discovered that not only are women twice as likely as men to suffer depression, but women suffer anxiety disorders at a rate two to three times greater than men. Women are also at far greater risk than men for post traumatic stress disorder, a discovery that could significantly impact the treatment of female war veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
In fact, the study found that any history of violence, trauma or abuse increased a woman’s risk of developing depression, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and panic disorders. It also increased the tendency to engage in risky behaviors.
Depression, anxiety, panic disorders, and post traumatic stress disorder are treatable conditions. In a key finding, the federal report found that family and interpersonal relationships in a woman’s life not only play a significant role in a woman’s ability to cope with and recover from mental illness, but that strong, positive relationships offer women some modicum of protection from mental illness.
In a press release, Acting Surgeon General Dr. Steven Galson said, “Mental illness is often incorrectly perceived as a weakness, which prevents women from recognizing the signs and symptoms and seeking treatment. In order to reduce stigma, we need to encourage open, honest conversations.”
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