Who gets depression?

People respond differently to different types and levels of adversity. A life event or situation that may lead to depression in one individual may not in another. Additionally, symptoms may be expressed differently according to personality, characteristics and social norms.

Depression, unlike some other mental disorders has some gender specific causes which manifest themselves differently in men and women.

Gender difference in the diagnosis of depression

While the mechanisms of depression are the essentially the same for men and women, differences in social norms and expectations of the mental states of men and women on top of variations in hormonal responses, there are subtle differences in how men and women experience and express depression.

Through analysis of depression statistics, it is widely reported that there are approximately twice as many female sufferers of depression in comparison to their male counterparts. The life time prevalence of men is around 10 percent meaning that approximately one in ten men will be diagnosed with depression. For women the figure is more like one in eight.

It could be the case that women are more likely to report symptoms of depression and seek help, while men may feel it isn’t socially accepted to be feeling helpless, guilty or show that they may be struggling to complete everyday tasks. Additionally, men have been found to be more likely to self-medicate using substances such as alcohol or drugs in an attempt to suppress their depression symptoms.

Finally, it has also been noted that suicidal attempts that occur as a result of depression; men are more likely to choose definitive and irreversible means, while women are more likely to choose self-poisoning or overdosing methods that are potentially less absolute.

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