Signs Of Depression In Women
By: Stephanie Kirby
Updated February 27, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Dawn Brown
Are you a woman that is struggling with feeling down, sad, and unmotivated? Or maybe you feel tired, irritable, and constantly upset. If these feelings are a major part of your life and not just hitting you on occasion, it could be depression. Women are twice as likely as men to experience feelings of depression. So, as a woman, it's important to recognize what the signs of depression in women look like.
What Is Depression?
There are several different kinds of depression that women can be diagnosed with. The first is major depression or major depressive disorder. This is a type of generalized depression where you may struggle to be motivated for the things that you used to like to do. You may pull away from family and friends and doing activities that you usually enjoy.
Depression isn't just feeling sad like some people think it is. It's also not something that only hits you for a moment and then goes away right away. Everyone has periods of the day or in their life where they feel more unmotivated, tired, and emotional. Real depression is when it is impacting your life daily. It lasts longer than just a day and impacts your normal activities.
Another form of depression that women experience is called postpartum depression. This is also known as the baby blues; however, it is something very different. As your hormones adjust after giving birth, it is normal for women to experience baby blues. This typically goes on for no longer than a week or two until your emotions and hormones stabilize. However, postpartum depression lasts longer than that and is more intense. Some women can even begin to experience symptoms from this while they are still pregnant.
Many women don't realize or want to acknowledge that they have postpartum depression. After giving birth, your hormones are already all over the board, and so it's difficult sometimes to tell what is postpartum depression and what is just the normal fluctuation in emotions and hormones after giving birth. However, postpartum depression steals the joy that you feel after having a child.
Instead of enjoying the time with your newborn, you may be overwhelmed by sadness, worry, anxiety, and spend a lot of time crying.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Another form of depression that women experience is called premenstrual dysphoric disorder. This is a type of depression that is directly related to the menstrual cycle of a woman. It causes severe mood swings, negative thoughts, anxiety, and depression the week leading up to the start of a woman's cycle.
While some people want to refer to this as PMS depression, it is not the same thing. This is not PMS. It is much more intense, and far fewer women experience it. PMDD impacts daily life activities more severely.
Another form of depression that is limited to women is perimenopause depression. Many symptoms come along with being in perimenopause; however, it's important to know what is normal and what is not normal. While it's normal to experience things like mood swings, difficulty sleeping, and hot flashes, it is not normal to deal with depression during this time.
If you're experiencing symptoms of depression in the stage of your life, it's important that you treat it as depression and not just a symptom of perimenopause. This includes feelings of overwhelming sadness, anxiety, irritability, or the loss of enjoyment of activities that you previously enjoyed.
Signs Of Depression
While there are some signs of depression that are the same between men and women, there are also differences to watch for. It's important to understand that depression does not look the same in every person. Some women will experience some symptoms, while other women have a completely different experience.
Here are some of the most common signs of depression in women:
- Feeling hopeless
- Overwhelming sadness
- Low energy levels and fatigue
- Loss of interest in Hobbies
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Changes in sleeping habits
- Changes in eating habits
- Increase difficulty in concentrating
- Feeling worthless
- Feeling lonely
- A feeling of emptiness
Now there are also physical symptoms that can come along with depression. These include things like:
- Digestive issues
- Back pain
- Muscle fatigue
Again, these are not symptoms and signs that every person will experience, but if you're experiencing several of the symptoms that are listed above, then it could be a good indicator that you're dealing with depression.
What Causes Depression?
There isn't always a clear indicator as to what caused depression. For some people, they can pinpoint it back to a specific event or situation that has happened in their life. It may be the result of an ended relationship, death of a loved one, abuse as a child, or any number of life situations.
However, depression can also seem to come from nowhere. Some people begin to experience it and can't exactly put their finger on why it started or what caused it. Sometimes working with a therapist can help these people get to what the root cause of the problem is. Other times people are simply able to learn coping skills to help them overcome the symptoms that they're experiencing with depression.
Some people will experience depression once in their lives, and other women experience it as more of a reoccurring challenge in their life. It may get better and worse through different times, but it never seems to go away completely. Some people experience both sides of the spectrum. That's why it's important to get the treatment that you need when you're experiencing these symptoms. They can help you learn how to deal with your depression healthily and also how to identify it faster if the symptoms come back again.
Depression Can Be Treated
It's important to understand that depression is a treatable mental health disorder. If you're experiencing the symptoms above, even if it's just a few of them, you can get help. And, the sooner you can get help and address the challenges that you're facing, the better it's going to be for you.
The longer you let these symptoms go on, the deeper they can go into your life, making it harder for you to overcome. There are some things that you can do at home on your own to help cope with your depression, and there are also things that a professional therapist can help you with.
Some of the things that you can try at home include:
If you're experiencing symptoms of depression, it's easy to forget about taking care of yourself. However, when you do that, it can make you feel even worse. Things that you need to make sure you pay attention to include the food that you eat, the rest that you get, the activities that you do, and your overall health.
Getting proper nutrition is important when you're depressed. Many people experience a change in their appetite, either wanting to eat a lot more or you nothing at all. Make sure that you're making healthy food choices even when you're feeling depressed. If you're not hungry look for something small and nutritious that you can make yourself eat. Your body needs that fuel to keep going.
There are lots of studies that show the benefits of exercise on your mental health. When you take the time out for physical activity, it helps increase the endorphins in your brain that impact your mood. Even if you don't feel like getting started, choose something small like going for a walk or doing a little bit of yoga, and often once you get started, it becomes a lot easier.
It's also important that you do your best to get enough sleep. If you're struggling with falling asleep, you can try natural remedies like deep breathing exercises and meditation to help you fall asleep. Or, if you want to sleep all day, set the alarm and make yourself get up out of bed as soon as it goes off even if you're not getting dressed or leaving the house.
Self-care is very important in be able to overcome depression.
Talk To A Therapist
Licensed therapists are trained on how to help you with your depression. It could be that they help you pinpoint where it's coming from and address the root cause, or simply learn coping skills that help you move through it. If you're struggling with depression, it's important that you get the help that you need. Depression doesn't usually just go away on its own, and it can lead to a more serious problem such as suicidal thoughts.
Take the time to find a local therapist in your area or look for an online therapist that can treat you. Remember that depression is a treatable mental health challenge and not something that you have to continue to live with. If you're struggling, take the time to reach out for help, you'll be glad that you did.
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