Depression is a serious medical condition that affects millions of people across the world. It can make performing daily tasks difficult and wreak havoc on lives. For reasons experts do not fully understand, women are two times more likely than men to become depressed. Numerous theories exist on the causes of depression in women, but the exact causes of psychological conditions in general remain a mystery to researchers. The potential causes are separated into biological and psychological factors that may increase the risk of depression in women.
Possible Causes of Depression in Women
- Biological. The biological causes of depression in women are usually hormone-driven. Whenever the reproductive hormones fluctuate, depression can become an issue. Prime examples include around the time of menstruation, during pregnancy, and throughout menopause. Postpartum depression is thought to be caused by a combination of hormonal changes, lack of sleep, and other sudden lifestyle changes brought on by the birth of a baby.
- Infertility. Although infertility technically falls under a biological cause, it can also be emotionally devastating. Trying to conceive month after month, only to keep receiving negative results, can tear a woman apart. Every time a woman’s period arrives becomes a time of grieving for what could have been.
- Stress. Women tend to crack under the pressure of stress more easily than men. While men may be likely to develop depression under extreme stress levels, women are more likely to develop it under even minor amounts of stress. The reason behind this is more biological than psychological women simply produce more stress hormone than men, and their bodies receive the signal to turn it off later than their male counterparts.
- Living in the past. For the most part, women are problem-solvers by nature, and when they become depressed, they like to try to get to the bottom of it. Over-analyzing what caused the depression in the first place can actually worsen the problem in some cases. Living in the past and going over every detail looking for where it all went wrong can cause mild depression in women to become more severe.
- Social pressure. The media perpetuates an unrealistic vision of what women are supposed to look like, and society reinforces these ideals. Women are constantly bombarded with other women who are extremely thin and have a flawless appearance. Airbrushed faces stare back from the covers of magazines, and size 0 supermodels strut down the catwalk at fashion shows. Trying to live up to these ideals can lead to depression in women, eating disorders, and other psychological issues.
- Genetics. If a woman has a previous family history of depression, she is more likely to develop it herself. Of course, not all women who come from even a long history of depression are fated to become depressed, just like not all depressed women come from depressed parents.
While the exact causes of depression in women are difficult to pinpoint, understanding the potential causes can help physicians and psychological counselors better determine the best treatment. A plan to help relieve the symptoms needs to take all the factors into consideration. Learn to recognize the symptoms and the early signs of depression!