Understanding Depression in Women
Depression in women affects one out of every eight women in the United States according to the National Mental Health Association. Even with depression being so common, there’s still a great deal about the illness that the average person doesn’t know.
For example, depression does not affect every person the same. It is a very unique and personal disease that affects each individual who experiences it differently. Clinical depression is more common in women than in men, with an estimated 12 million women experiencing it each year. If depression in women is left untreated, symptoms typically worsen and can negatively impact every aspect of her life, including her family, social, professional and interpersonal relationships.
Signs of Depression
Clinical depression has similar signs and symptoms with women as with men, with the following common symptoms:
- Persistent, sad, anxious or empty mood
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Loss of interest in activities and hobbies they used to enjoy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Appetite and/or weight changes
- Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts
- Restlessness, irritability
Additional signs of depression that are less well known by the general public can include:
- Constant worrying about everything
- Chronic pain
- Change in humor or anger – being more sarcastic or cutting
- Being cynical, especially toward others
- Being disorganized
When Depression Leads to Substance Abuse
The connection between mental illness and substance abuse is undeniable. These co-occurring disorders, or dual diagnosis, are found together so often that it is now common practice that if you are diagnosed as having one, you must be screened for the other. More than 20 percent of adults who have experienced an episode of depression in the past year have also engaged in substance abuse.
A great portion of the population with depression will attempt to numb their symptoms and signs of depression with alcohol and drugs. Unfortunately, illicit substances will only intensify the symptoms of depression rather than reduce them like their goal of self-medicating. Addicts will often develop symptoms of depression and other mental illnesses after prolonged, extreme substance abuse as well.
Mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders must be treated simultaneously when they are co-occurring. Research has shown that treating one without treating the other is not effective as these illnesses influence each other very strongly.
Depression in both genders is a very serious condition but thankfully it is also very treatable. Education, psychotherapy, and when necessary antidepressant medication all do an extremely effective job at reducing depression in women and men alike.
This coming Thursday the 6th of October is National Depression Screening Day, so if you or a loved one is experiencing any of the signs of depression, please schedule yourself an appointment with a professional to be screened. Depression rarely ever goes away on its own and it can have serious, negative consequences on your life if untreated.
Destination Hope: The Women’s Program is the premier dual diagnosis treatment facility for women in South Florida. Their highly trained clinicians can help you work through your issues causing your episodes of depression in the first place.
They’ll teach you coping strategies to reduce the severity of your symptoms as well as avoidance strategies for when you feel the urge to abuse substances. If there’s a woman in your life who could benefit from the experts at Destination Hope, please urge them to get in contact with us today. Life is too precious to spend one more day depressed, and we want to help.