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Depression in Women CAUSES, SYMPTOMS, AND TREATMENT Empty Depression in Women CAUSES, SYMPTOMS, AND TREATMENT

20.01.11 20:10
Depression in Women CAUSES, SYMPTOMS, AND TREATMENT

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Feeling down from time to time is a normal part of life. But when emptiness and despair take hold and won't go away, it may be depression. More than just the temporary "blues," the lows of depression make it tough to function and enjoy life like you once did. Hobbies and friends don’t interest you like they used to; you’re exhausted all the time; and just getting through the day can be overwhelming. When you’re depressed, things may feel hopeless, but with help and support youcan get better. But first, you need to understand depression. Learning about depression—including its signs, symptoms, causes, and treatment—is the first step to overcoming the problem.


What is depression?

We all go through ups and downs
in our mood. Sadness is a normal reaction to life’s struggles, setbacks, and disappointments. Many people use the word “depression” to explain these kinds of feelings, but depression is much more than just sadness.
Some people describe depression as “living in a black hole” or having a feeling of impending doom. However, some depressed people don't feel sad at all—instead, they feel lifeless, empty, and apathetic.
Whatever the symptoms, depression is different from normal sadness in that it engulfs your day-to-day life, interfering with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and have fun. The feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness are intense and unrelenting, with little, if any, relief.

Are you depressed?

If you identify with several of the following signs and symptoms, and they just won’t go away, you may be suffering from clinical depression.
you can’t sleep or you sleep too much
you can’t concentrate or find that previously easy tasks are now difficult
you feel hopeless and helpless
you can’t control your negative thoughts, no matter how much you try
you have lost your appetite or you can’t stop eating
you are much more irritable and short-tempered than usual
you have thoughts that life is not worth living (Seek help immediately if this is the case)

Signs and symptoms of depression
Depression varies from person to person, but there are some common signs and symptoms. It’s important to remember that these symptoms can be part of life’s normal lows. But the more symptoms you have, the stronger they are, and the longer they’ve lasted—the more likely it is that you’re dealing with depression. When these symptoms are overwhelming and disabling, that's when it's time to seek help.

Common signs and symptoms of depression
Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
Loss of interest in daily activities. No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia).
Irritability or restlessness. Feeling agitated, restless, or on edge. Your tolerance level is low; everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.

Depression and suicide
Depression is a major risk factor for suicide. The deep despair and hopelessness that goes along with depression can make suicide feel like the only way to escape the pain. Thoughts of death or suicide are a serious symptom of depression, so take any suicidal talk or behavior seriously. It's not just a warning sign that the person is thinking about suicide: it's a cry for help.

Warning signs of suicide include:
Talking about killing or harming one’s self
Expressing strong feelings of hopelessness or being trapped
An unusual preoccupation with death or dying
Acting recklessly, as if they have a death wish (e.g. speeding through red lights)
Calling or visiting people to say goodbye
Getting affairs in order (giving away prized possessions, tying up loose ends)
Saying things like “Everyone would be better off without me” or “I want out.”
A sudden switch from being extremely depressed to acting calm and happy.

If you think a friend or family member is considering suicide, express your concern and seek professional help immediately. Talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life.

Depression in Women
CAUSES, SYMPTOMS, AND TREATMENT


Depression in Women CAUSES, SYMPTOMS, AND TREATMENT Depressionwomen225
Depression is not "one size fits all," particularly when it comes to the genders. Not only are women more prone to depression than men, but the causes of female depression and even the pattern of symptoms are often different.
Many factors contribute to the unique picture of depression in women-from reproductive hormones to social pressures to the female response to stress. Learning about these factors can help you minimize your risk of depression and treat it more
Depression is a serious condition that can impact every area of your life. It can affect your social life, your family relationships, your career, and your sense of self-worth and purpose. And for women in particular, depression is common.
If you’re feeling sad, guilty, tired, and just generally “down in the dumps,” you may be suffering from major depression. But the good news is that depression is treatable, and the more you understand about depression’s particular implications for and impact on women, the more equipped you will be to tackle the condition head on.

According to the National Mental Health Association:
Approximately 12 million women in the United States experience clinical depression each year.
About one in every eight women can expect to develop clinical depression during their lifetime.

Signs and symptoms of depression in women
The symptoms of depression in women are the same as those for major depression. Common complaints include: Depressed mood Loss of interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
Feelings of guilt, hopelessness and worthlessness
Suicidal thoughts or recurrent thoughts of death
Sleep disturbance (sleeping more or sleeping less)
Appetite and weight changes
Difficulty concentrating
Lack of energy and fatigue

Differences between male and female depression

Although the signs and symptoms of depression are the same for both men and women, women tend to experience certain symptoms more often than men. For example, seasonal affective disorder—depression in the winter months due to lower levels of sunlight—is more common in women. Also, women are more likely to experience the symptoms of atypical depression.
In atypical depression, rather than sleeping less, eating less, and losing weight, the opposite is seen: sleeping excessively, eating more (especially carbohydrates), and gaining weight. Feelings of guilt associated with depression are also more prevalent and pronounced in women. Women also have a higher incidence of thyroid problems. Since hypothyroidism can cause depression, this medical problem should always be ruled out by a physician in women who are depressed.

Causes of depression in women

Women are about twice as likely as men to suffer from depression. This two-to-one difference persists across racial, ethnic, and economic divides. In fact, this gender difference in rates of depression is found in most countries around the world. There are a number of theories which attempt to explain the higher incidence of depression in women. Many factors have been implicated, including biological, psychological, and social factors.

Biological causes of depression in women
Premenstrual problems - Hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle can cause the familiar symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), such as bloating, irritability, fatigue, and emotional reactivity. For many women, PMS is mild. But for some women, symptoms are severe enough to disrupt their lives and a diagnosis of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is made.
Pregnancy and infertility - The many hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can contribute to depression, particularly in women already at high risk. Other issues relating to pregnancy such as miscarriage, unwanted pregnancy, and infertility can also play a role in depression.

Postpartum depression - Many new mothers experience the “baby blues.” This is a normal reaction that tends to subside within a few weeks. However, some women experience severe, lasting depression. This condition is known as postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is believed to be influenced, at least in part, by hormonal fluctuations.

Perimenopause and menopause - Women may be at increased risk for depression during perimenopause, the stage leading to menopause when reproductive hormones rapidly fluctuate. Women with past histories of depression are at an increased risk of depression during menopause as well.

Social and cultural causes of depression in women
Role strain - Women often suffer from role strain over conflicting and overwhelming responsibilities in their life. The more roles a woman is expected to play (mother, wife, working woman), the more vulnerable she is to role strain and subsequent stress and depression. Depression is more common in women who receive little help with housework and child care. Single mothers are particularly at risk. Research indicates that single mothers are three times more likely than married mothers to experience an episode of major depression.
Unequal power and status - Women’s relative lack of power and status in our society may lead to feelings of helplessness. This sense of helplessness puts women at greater risk for depression. These feelings may be provoked by discrimination in the workplace leading to underemployment or unemployment. Low socioeconomic status is a risk factor for major depression. Another contributing factor is society’s emphasis on youth, beauty, and thinness in women, traits which to a large extent are out of their control.

Sexual and physical abuse - Sexual and physical abuse may play a role in depression in women. Girls are much more likely to be sexually abused than boys, and researchers have found that sexual abuse in childhood puts one at increased risk for depression in adulthood. Higher rates of depression are also found among victims of rape, a crime almost exclusively committed against women. Other common forms of abuse, including physical abuse and sexual harassment, may also contribute to depression.

Relationship dissatisfaction - While rates of depression are lower for the married than for the single and divorced, the benefits of marriage and its general contribution to well-being are greater for men than for women. Furthermore, the benefits disappear entirely for women whose marital satisfaction is low. Lack of intimacy and marital strife are linked to depression in women.

Poverty - Poverty is more common among women than men. Single mothers have the highest rates of poverty across all demographic groups. Poverty is a severe, chronic stressor than can lead to depression.

Psychological causes of depression in women

Coping mechanisms - Women are more likely to ruminate when they are depressed. This includes crying to relieve emotional tension, trying to figure out why you’re depressed, and talking to your friends about your depression. However, rumination has been found to maintain depression and even make it worse. Men, on the other hand, tend to distract themselves when they are depressed. Unlike rumination, distraction can reduce depression.

Stress response - According to Psychology Today, women are more likely than men to develop depression under lower levels of stress. Furthermore, the female physiological response to stress is different. Women produce more stress hormones than men do, and the female sex hormone progesterone prevents the stress hormone system from turning itself off as it does in men.

Puberty and body image - The gender difference in depression begins in adolescence. The emergence of sex differences during puberty likely plays a role. Some researchers point to body dissatisfaction, which increases in girls during the sexual development of puberty. Body image is closely linked to self-esteem in women, and low self-esteem is a risk factor for depression.

Risk factors for depression in women
There are a number of different, yet interrelated, risk factors for depression in women. Women of lower socioeconomic status are more likely to develop depression. This makes sense considering that the more sources of stress in a woman’s life, the more likely she is to develop depression. Women of low socioeconomic status are likely to struggle with financial problems, issues of unemployment or underemployment, discrimination, lack of education, and single parenthood. Additional risk factors include marital conflict and dissatisfaction, past sexual or physical abuse, and role strain.

RISK FACTORS FOR DEPRESSION IN WOMEN
Family history of mood disorders
Personal past history of mood disorders in early reproductive years
Loss of a parent before the age of 10 years
Childhood history of physical or sexual abuse
Use of an oral contraceptive, especially one with a high progesterone content
Use of gonadotropin stimulants as part of infertility treatment
Persistent psychosocial stressors (e.g., loss of job)
Loss of social support system or the threat of such a loss

Treating depression in women
For the most part, women suffering from depression receive the same types of treatment as everyone else. The main treatment approaches are psychotherapy and antidepressant therapy. However, there are some special treatment considerations for depression in women.

Depression and the Reproductive Cycle
Hormone fluctuations related to the reproductive cycle can have a profound influence on a woman’s mood. In light of this possibility, you and your doctor should always look for connections between your depressive symptoms and the female reproductive cycle. Is your depression connected to your menstrual period and a possible effect of PMS? Are you pregnant and struggling with complications and concerns related to the vast changes you and your body are undergoing? Are you struggling with the baby blues after recently giving birth? Or are you approaching menopause and dealing with hormonal and emotional fluctuations? All of these milestones in the reproductive cycle can influence or trigger depression. It’s also important to consider mood-related side effects from birth control medication or hormone replacement therapy.

Relationship Issues and Role Strain
Because of the special role that interpersonal issues and role strain plays in female depression, psychotherapy should address them directly. Interpersonal therapy and cognitive-behavior therapy are both effective in teaching new problem solving skills, improving interpersonal relationships, and reducing negative thinking and ineffective coping techniques.

Treatment Modifications
Specific aspects of treatment must often be modified for women. Because of female biological differences, women should generally be started on lower doses of antidepressants than men. Women are also more likely to experience side effects, so any medication use should be closely monitored. Finally, women are more likely than men to require simultaneous treatment for other conditions such as anxiety disorders and eating disorders.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
Most women are all too familiar with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Unwelcome symptoms of PMS such as bloating, moodiness, and fatigue appear and reappear each month at the same time in the menstrual cycle. For most women, these premenstrual symptoms are uncomfortable but not disabling. But for up to one out of ten women, symptoms are so distressing and disabling that they warrant a diagnosis of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). PMDD is characterized by severe depression, irritability, and other mood disturbances. Symptoms begin about 10 to 14 days before your period and improve within a few days of its start.

Symptoms of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
Feelings of tension or anxiety
Panic attacks
Mood swings and tearfulness
Persistent irritability or anger
Disinterest in daily activities and relationships
Trouble concentrating
Fatigue or low energy
Food cravings or binge eating
Sleep disturbances
Feeling out of control

Physical symptoms (bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, muscle pain)

Self-help for PMDD
There are many steps you can take to improve PMDD symptoms. Many involve simple lifestyle adjustments.
Exercise - Regular aerobic exercise can reduce the symptoms of PMDD.
Dietary modifications - Changes to your diet may help reduce symptoms. Cutting back on salt, fatty foods, caffeine, and alcohol is recommended. Eating plenty of complex carbohydrates is also recommended.
Nutritional supplements - Vitamin B-6, calcium, magnesium, Vitamin E, and tryptophan have all been shown to benefit women suffering from PMDD.
Herbal remedies - Evening primrose oil and chaste tree berry are herbal supplements that have both been studied and found to be effective in the treatment of PMDD.
Stress reduction - Relaxation techniques and other strategies to reduce stress may help with PMDD symptoms. Yoga and meditation are particularly effective.
For more severe cases of PMDD, antidepressant therapy may be helpful. Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil can alleviate the emotional symptoms of PMDD. The medication may be taken consistently, or in some cases, it is only taken during the two weeks leading up to the onset of menstruation.
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Depression in Women CAUSES, SYMPTOMS, AND TREATMENT Empty رد: Depression in Women CAUSES, SYMPTOMS, AND TREATMENT

08.08.11 15:56
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