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Published on: May 14, 2012
by Dr. Sharon A. Takiguchi for Yahoo:
The Journal of Affective Disorders reports women receive a diagnosis of depression twice as often as men do. The exact reason for the gender difference remains unknown. Depression represents a state of sadness or feeling blue. Individuals with depression exhibit a range of symptoms such as irritability, feelings of hopelessness, decreased energy, difficulty concentrating, sleep problems and mood swings. Furthermore, depression exists as one of the five leading causes of disability.
Causes of Depression in Women
The National institute of Mental Health describes multiple variables overlapping to trigger depression in women. Scientists indicate the variables of genetic, chemical, hormonal, environmental, biological, mental and social factors play a part in depression. Research remains ongoing to characterize these various aspects.
Some women report a family history of depression, but heritage is not a hard and fast rule. Depression occurs in women with no family history and women coming from a family with evidence of depression may fail to develop the condition. In a Review of Genetics and Depression, Mitjans and Arias indicate genetically susceptible persons acquire depression when exposed to risk factors.
According to Integrative Psychiatry, women with depression possess less of the brain chemical serotonin. Serotonin acts as a calming substance and permits communication between the nerve cells in the brain and the rest of the body. Imbalances of a second chemical, called norepinephrine, contributes to depression symptoms. These two chemicals regulate mental performance, emotional states and pain responses.
According to the University of Michigan Depression Center, hormone changes in the body occur at different phases in life and may expose women to depression. Up to 80 percent of women experience depression immediately after childbirth. Women may exhibit extreme sensitivity, moodiness and sleep problems that usually resolve within one to two weeks of giving birth.
WebMD portrays two studies showing women in the transition to menopause doubled their risk of developing symptoms of depression. These women reported no history of depression. The findings suggest women seek help for depression if symptoms occur during perimenopause.
The American Psychiatric Association reports that environmental issues produce depression in women susceptible to depression. Contact with continuous violence, neglect, abuse or poverty generates depression in vulnerable individuals.
Vitamins play a role in generating brain chemicals affecting mood and brain functions. Mayo Clinic indicates low levels of B-12 and other B vitamins such as vitamin B-6 and folate may lead to depression. These deficiencies can arise from poor dietary intake or the body’s inability to absorb vitamins. Older women, vegetarians or individuals with food absorption problems fail to get enough vitamin B-12. Blood tests ordered by your healthcare provider to check levels of B-12 or other vitamins uncover these deficiencies.
Psychology Information Online describes a propensity for individuals with low self-esteem or ones with a pessimistic or anti-social personality to succumb to depression. The inability to respond to stress may lead to a maladaptive response to life events such as serious loss, financial setbacks, or any unwelcome change to everyday activities.
Social factors represent a women’s interpersonal relationship with her surroundings and relationships with people. The Rochester Institute of Technology describes these relationships occurring in the family and social settings. Marital discord, poor relationships with family members, work related stress, and a lack of a social support network can contribute to developing depression.
Depression produces needless suffering and fails to be a normal condition in life. If experiencing symptoms of depression, seek help from a healthcare provider.
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