Women and Depression

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distressed womanDo you ever feel helpless under the weight of your emotions? Have you ever believed you were powerless to regain control of your life?

According to the National Mental Health Association, clinical depression will be a fact of life for a significant number of women, at some point during their lives. Furthermore, it has been shown that twice as many women are likely to become depressed than men, a phenomenon investigated by researchers Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, Ph.D., and Carla Grayson, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan and Judith Larson, Ph.D., of Atherton, CA. The gender discrepancy appears to be related to key factors presented in an article co-authored by the three psychologists. Their article bases its findings on their study titled “Explaining the Gender Difference in Depressive Symptoms.”

The study finds that women are deeply affected by a combination of social situations and their own personalities. Women tend to engage in a passive “cycle of despair” that doesn’t seem to be as prevalent among men. This appears connected to two primary issues. First, is a lower mastery, or lessened sense of control, over key life matters. Second, is a chronic tendency to passively ruminate on their feelings.

To receive proper treatment, women need to determine which type of depression is plaguing them. The onset of reactive depression is generally caused by the emotional impact of life events like death or disease and usually fades with time. Support from others and medication may be required. Physical depression results from a chemical imbalance in the brain due to chronic illness, immune disorders or nutritional deficiency. Untreated, sufferers feel the ill effects of this type in their daily functioning. Finally, manic depression is characterized by wide fluctuations between depression and mania, not necessarily present in other forms of physical depression.

To combat depression, teaching women to actively problem solve, rather than passively ruminate, will help provide women more control over their futures. Additionally, it is important that women receive help to amend their social conditions to alleviate environmental sources of passive rumination.

Read the entire article here:  Women’s Health: Women and Depression – The Types



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