Depression is a problem that affects millions of Americans but studies have repeatedly shown that women have much higher rates of the illness. Research that evaluates depression in both genders shows that women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression than men. They are also three times more likely to suffer from anxiety disorders or attempt suicide.
What causes the gender gap in illnesses like depression? There are many different factors that can contribute to women struggling with mental health problems. Depression treatment that focuses on the specific issues that women face can help them understand what has caused their depression.
One of the reasons that women struggle more with depression has to do with biological and hormonal differences. Women’s mental health is affected by hormonal changes throughout their life that occur during puberty, during their menstrual cycle, throughout pregnancy and postpartum as well as perimenopause and menopause. These shifting hormones can disrupt the serotonin levels in the brain which help control mood.
Other factors which can influence depression for women are life circumstances and cultural pressures. Women are more likely to make less money than men in similar jobs and overall they are more likely to live in poverty. They also tend to have more stress and responsibilities, often balancing work and duties at home as a caregiver.
Women are also more likely to experience some type of physical, emotional or sexual abuse at some point in their life which can increase their likelihood of depression. Although these factors contribute to higher rates of diagnosis, women are also more likely to seek help through depression treatment. Getting professional care can make it possible for more women to recover and get the help that they need to lead healthier lives.