Signs of Depression in Women

Learn more about the signs of depression in women, the causes of depression, and available treatment options here.

Table of Contents

What Is Depression?

Depression is a mental health disorder that can cause changes in appetite, insomnia, apathy, feelings of intense sadness, and thoughts of suicide. One in six people will experience depression at one point in their lives, meaning that major depressive disorder is relatively common.

Read on to learn more about the signs of depression in women as well as the different treatment options. 

Signs of Depression in Women

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Impact of Depression

There are many ways that depression can affect people’s daily lives. However, the signs of depression in women are often different from the symptoms of depression in men. Women tend to experience depression at nearly twice the rate that men do, and some key differences that may play a part in that include the hormonal changes that women undergo much more often than men, along with potential societal pressures.2

There are many other reasons why the signs of depression in women differ from those in men. It’s important to be aware of these symptoms so you’re able to notice them in yourself or your loved ones.

What Are the Types of Depression?

There are several different types of depression, each of which come with its own signs and symptoms. Some of the most common types of depression that affect women include:

  • Major depressive disorder (MDD)
  • Bipolar depression
  • Perinatal and postpartum depression
  • Persistent depressive disorder (PDD)
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

Common Signs of Depression in Women

While the signs of depression in women look different based on individual circumstances and genetic makeup, there are still some common symptoms that are persistent across diagnoses. These can include:

  • Persistent low mood
  • Lack of motivation
  • Reduced interest in things that used to bring happiness
  • Social withdrawal
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Exhaustion
  • Suicidal ideation

Causes of Depression in Women

The causes and signs of depression in women are mostly attributed to hormonal changes or imbalances, the way that women’s bodies respond to stress and pressure, and general mental health struggles. Some of the most common causes of depression in women are detailed below.3

Premenstrual Problems

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a shift that the body goes through about a week before the period starts. One common symptom of PMS is depression, which is thought to be caused by hormonal changes that could influence chemicals in the brain. While not every woman experiences depression as a PMS symptom, it’s still worth noting as an indicator of depressive moods. PMS symptoms are usually temporary and tend to go away when the period itself begins.

However, if PMS symptoms persist, it may be classified as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), which is a more intense and long-lasting version of the depressive symptom of PMS.

Postpartum Depression

Signs of depression in women can also be seen after giving birth. This type of depression occurs when you’re pregnant or right after you have a baby. This is also thought to be due to hormonal changes, as your hormones will drastically change throughout the pregnancy and birthing periods.

Menopause and Perimenopause

Perimenopause is when a woman’s body transitions into menopause. This is when women’s ovaries stop producing hormones, signaling an end to their menstrual cycle. Depression can be a side effect of your body going through more hormonal changes during this time.

Female Physiological Response to Stress

Men’s and women’s bodies have different biological and physiological responses to stress. In women, the stress response is often called “tend-and-befriend” instead of “fight-or-flight,” due to how stress affects cortisol levels in the brain. This could lead more women to stay in or “fix” situations that otherwise may be harmful to their mental health.4

Societal Pressures

There are multiple ways that society treats women differently, ranging from how women are supposed to lead their lives to how their bodies are supposed to look. These pressures may cause an increase in depressive symptoms.

Thyroid and Health Problems

One in eight women will have thyroid problems at some point in their life. The thyroid can cause issues like problems with your menstrual cycle and hormonal imbalances, meaning that thyroid issues can be a strong predictor in women developing depression symptoms.5

Is Depression Hereditary?

Depression can be hereditary. Genetic depression tends to affect women more, with studies showing that women have a 42% chance of developing depression due to genetics, whereas men only have a 29% chance.6

While your parents or grandparents having depression does not guarantee that you will also develop the mental health disorder, it’s still important to note the signs of depression in women and how this could affect their moods.

How Is Depression Treated?

There are multiple ways that women with depression can get help. Some of these include:

  • Self-help
  • Counseling
  • Alternative medicine
  • Medication
  • Brain stimulation therapy

Types of Talk Therapy

There are some types of therapies that work better than others for treating depression. This can be due to how women respond to treatment or how severe their symptoms are. The best types of talk therapy that treat the signs of depression in women are:

  • Behavioral activation therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Interpersonal therapy
  • Problem-solving therapy
  • Self-management/self-control therapy

What Are the Different Antidepressants for Depression and How Do They Work?

Some doctors may prescribe antidepressants to help with depression symptoms. These medications work by increasing neurotransmitters in the brain, which can help improve mood. Some of the most common antidepressants include:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)

Before starting any medication, it’s important to discuss your symptoms with a doctor.

Signs of Depression in Women

Get Professional Help to Overcome Depression at Profound

If you or a loved one need help to manage the symptoms of depression, along with any potential co-occurring disorders such as substance abuse problems, Profound Treatment can help. We offer many different treatment options, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, family and group therapy, and medication-assisted therapy to help treat any issues you may be having. Our knowledgeable and compassionate staff will also work with you to create a treatment plan that is unique to you and your needs as a patient. We understand that everyone is different and a “one size fits all” approach does not work.

We also have a specific LGBTQ+ program to assist those who may need a more empathetic and supportive staff and program.

Reach Out and Begin Healing

Looking to learn more about signs of depression in women? Reach out to us today if you or a loved one are experiencing depression symptoms, and we will be with you every step of the way during your treatment and recovery.

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