Women & Depression

We talked about depression in men in the last blog post.  Now we want to address depression in the ladies.  Depression can have a significant impact on your marriage as you begin to withdrawal.  Many of us have heard about postpartum depression and depression throughout pregnancy which often occurs because of the hormonal changesexperienced.   We will address this further, however, did you know the higher rate ofdepression can’t be blamed on biology alone?  Your life situation and cultural stressors could play a role in your depression as well.  In this blog post we will outline the biological causes of depression, such as occurs with pregnancy,  and those related to non-biological causes as well.

Depression and Pregnancy

Most women experience dramatic hormonal changes during pregnancy which naturally affects her mood.  Other factors increase the risk of developing depression.  These factors include:

  • History of depression
  • Inability to take antidepressant medication
  • Changes in Lifestyle; possibly realizing you may not be able to work the same job or keep the same car etc.
  • Fear about being pregnant; maybe it was an unplanned pregnancy
  • Relationship issues; statistics show that arguments increase 9x after baby comes along 
  • Lack of support from friends or family; maybe your social network are not having children.
  • Infertility or Miscarriage

 Postpartum Depression

Nearly half of new mothers experience the baby blues where they find themselves sad, irritable, angry, teary eyed after having their baby.  These feelings usually subside after 2 weeks.  It can be very serious and could need treatment by a professional. 

How to Tell if You or Someone You Love is Suffering from Depression

The person you love may show signs of low self-esteem, may become increasingly anxious, agitated, may not feel able to care for their baby or may express feelings of harming themselves or their baby.  

Postpartum depression is a serious condition that should not be ignored and should not go untreated.  Professionals in the field of women’s health say that postpartum depression can be caused by hormonal fluctuations that cause changes in mood and a predisposition to the illness.  

When the estrogen levels fluctuate, as it often does with the transition to menopause and perimenopause, a woman’s chance of becoming depressed increases.  If sleep is disturbed for long periods of time that can cause depression.

Signs of Depression

It is important to recognize depression and seek treatment.  A person who depressed will show signs of:

  1. Withdrawal
  2. Ongoing feelings of sadness, guilt, or hopelessness
  3. Quitting things that were once loved
  4. Unexplainable physical pain and fatigue
  5. Significant weight loss, weight gain, and changes in appetite
  6. Thoughts of suicide

Life Situations and Culture and Depression

I found it interesting that life situations and culture can cause depression in women.  It makes sense when we understand why.  It’s not simply biology that causes depression in women but life stressors as well.  Some of these include:

  1. Feeling unequal in power and status.  
  2. Uncertainty about the future and racial discrimination.
  3. Not feeling in control over your own life.
  4. Overload in work and home life.  Trying to balance working inside and outside the home.  Pressure to not drop the ball in either area.  The caretaker role in general often placed, assumed, or welcomed by women.  
  5. Abuse sexually, emotionally, and physically can cause depression.  

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