1 in 8 women experiences depression in their lifetime; twice the rate as men, regardless of race or ethnic background.
Middle-aged Hispanic women have the highest rate of symptoms, followed by middle-aged African American women.
Young Asian American women have the highest rate of younger groups and the 2nd highest rate of suicide among 15 to 24 year old. American Indians and Alaska Native adolescents are the most likely to attempt suicide and die from it.
Symptoms of depression in women 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 waking
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.
Women are more prone to psychological causes of depression than men. With a tendency to be more emotional, women are more likely to rehash negative thoughts during bouts of depression. While it is a normal response to cry, talk with friends, and rehash why it is you are in your depressive state, research has shown that ruminating about depression can cause it to last longer and even make it worse. In contrast, men tend to distract themselves from their depressive state – which has been shown to reduce the duration of symptoms. Additional psychological factors that tend to affect women over men are negative body images and stress-induced depression. Women are more prone to stress than men because their increased levels of progesterone have been shown to prevent stress hormones from leveling out. Negative body image issues usually begin in adolescence and seem to be correlated with the onset of puberty in women.
Some of the distinguishing factors in how depression differs between women vs. men include:
Women feel anxious and scared; men feel guarded
Women blame themselves for the depression; men blame others
Women commonly feel sad, worthless, and apathetic when depressed; men tend to feel irritable and angry
Women are more likely to avoid conflicts when depressed; men are more likely to create conflicts
Women turn to food and friends to self-medicate; men turn to alcohol, TV, sex, or sports to self-medicate
Women feel lethargic and nervous; men feel agitated and restless
Women easily talk about their feelings of self-doubt and despair; men hide feelings of self-doubt and despair-considering it a sign of weakness