The National Mental Health Association reports that as many as one in every eight women will experience at least one episode of clinical depression at some point in their life time.
There are a number of contributing factors that will influence whether a diagnosis of depression will be made. Individual differences of reproductive hormones will affect whether or not a women is likely to suffer from symptoms of depression. Additionally, social pressures, personal standards and individual differences in how stress is responded to, all contribute to whether or not a woman will respond to a life event or situation with depression.
Additionally, a women is statistically more likely, when compared to men, to be involved in traumatic events such as a rape or a physical abuse or be in a violent relationship, as such they are potentially more likely to suffer from depression.
It is often the cases the sudden changes in life situation such as the birth of a new baby or divorce or separation from a long term partner can trigger episodes of depression, with many women being diagnosed with the condition after a significant life event.
After the birth of a new baby, the father may go back to work leaving the mother to cope with the demands of a new born without any release or let up, this has been shown to be a difficult time with sleepless nights and learning new skills being paired with upholding previous demands can have an extremely detrimental effect to emotional and psychological wellbeing and can lead to a diagnosis of post natal depression.
Symptoms of depression in women can include;
- Depressed mood
- Lack of pleasure in activities that were previously enjoyed
- Feelings of guilt, hopelessness and worthlessness
- Changes in sleep patterns for example sleeping significantly more or less than normal
- Changes in eating habits and weight
- Difficulty concentrating
- Lack of energy and fatigue
In extreme cases of depression in women suicidal thoughts or recurrent thoughts of death may plague the sufferer.
There are a number of treatments that can be adopted by women to help overcome depression Mindfulness meditation in the form of an 8-week Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) program has been shown to significantly reduce the symptoms of depression and can have a positive impact on overall physical and emotional wellbeing.