Depression in Women

Between families, careers, pregnancy, and menopause, a woman’s risk of developing depression is about twice of what it is for men.  Though changes in mood occur naturally with hormonal fluctuations, they alone do not cause depression.  Biological factors, inherited traits, and certain life experiences all contribute to depression in women.

For example, extreme hormonal changes during pregnancy increase a woman’s risk for developing depression. Lifestyle and work changes, mixed feelings about being pregnant, miscarriages, and infertility all have the potential to result in depression.  Also, about half of new mothers experience sadness, anger, and irritability soon after giving birth.  Known as the “baby-blues,” these feelings are normal and usually last about a week or two.  More serious and longer lasting symptoms may indicate postpartum depression.

When differentiating between the symptoms men experience when suffering from depression, be aware of the symptoms depressed women may exhibit:

  • Feelings of sadness, apathy, or worthlessness
  • Severe anxiety
  • Avoiding conflict
  • Sleeping longer than usual
  • Withdrawal
  • Self-medicating through food

Your Employee Assistance Program, provided by Magellan Health Services, has resources and experience to help you.


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About Rebecca Sampson

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