Women with depression face the stigma of having a legitimate mood disorder passed off as their simply being “too emotional.” However, depression in women is a taboo subject that must be brought to light, and being aware is the first step.
It might come as a surprise to hear that 1 in 8 women will suffer major depression at some point in their lives. It might be more surprising to hear that this rate is double that of depression in men. Where does this depression gap come from?
1. Brain Chemistry
There are physical differences between healthy brains and those of depressed individuals, particularly in the portions relating to mood and emotions. Female hormones are known to directly affect these portions of the brain, especially around puberty, pregnancy and menopause.
2. Social Pressures
Unequal power and earning opportunities for women coupled with the added stress of often managing a career and family are contributing risk factors for depression in women. It is true that men may experience these stressors as well, but the rates are decidedly higher for modern, middle-aged women.
There is a certain stigma associated with women suffering from depression placed upon them by society. However, many women feel that depression is normal during certain life stages and that treatment is not needed. The majority of women feel more knowledgeable about depression than men, but only one 1/3 seek treatment for it, which worsens the condition in the long term.
By sharing this knowledge, we hope to aid in lifting taboos associated with depression in women and all people. Depression is something that can be talked about and advocated for.
We urge you to seek help if you or someone you know is feeling depressed. More than 80% of those who seek help can be treated successfully
Written by: Jessica Golden
This story originally appeared in Facing Depression in Muncie, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by the Ingelhart Scholars at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.