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Depression in Women

Women experience depression twice as often as men. The diagnostic criteria for depression are the same for both sexes, but women with depression more frequently experience guilt, anxiety, increased appetite and sleep, weight gain and comorbid eating disorders.

depression in women Causes of depression in women
Women are about twice as likely as men to suffer from depression. Many factors may contribute to the onset of depression, including genetic characteristics, changes in hormone levels, certain medical illnesses, stress, grief, or substance abuse. Any of these factors alone or in combination can bring about the specific changes in brain chemistry that lead to the many symptoms of depression, bipolar disorder and related conditions.

Signs and symptoms of depression in women
The symptoms of depression in women are the same as those for major depression. Common complaints include:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities, including sex
- Restlessness, irritability, or excessive crying
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, hopelessness, pessimism
- Sleeping too much or too little, early-morning awakening
- Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain
- Decreased energy, fatigue, feeling "slowed down"
- Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain

Treating depression in women
In general, the severe depressive illnesses, particularly those that are recurrent, will require antidepressant medications (or ECT in severe cases) along with psychotherapy for the best outcome. Patience is required because the treatment of depression takes time. Sometimes, the doctor will need to try a variety of antidepressants before finding the medication or combination of medications that is most effective for the patient. Sometimes, the dosage must be increased to be effective.