Examining the ways in which women’s mental health concerns vary from men’s is crucial in understanding the significance of mental health care for women. According to a more recent study, women may be more vulnerable to psychological issues like depression because of anatomical variations in the sexes’ brains.
The stigma attached to mental health in the past is progressively fading away as it becomes a more widely discussed topic. The daily struggle against mental illnesses is still there even with these two significant advancements in the way the world addresses mental health concerns. Furthermore, since a number of the most well-known mental health activists are female, it is always beneficial to examine the specific effects that mental illness has on women.
The Impact of Mental Illnesses on Women
While mental illnesses sadly impact people of all genders, mental health professionals will concur that some disorders or symptoms are more common among women. Treatments and research must therefore be conducted with this perspective in mind. These are some important details about women’s mental health that everyone should be aware of and comprehend.
Depression affects women more frequently.
Women are more prone than men to have symptoms or to develop depression for reasons that are yet not completely understood. The World Health Organization reports that women are twice as likely as males to be diagnosed with serious depression. Women are more likely to develop clinical depression than men, even though this does not imply that every woman will have the mental disease, particularly during or after puberty.
Certain Mental Illnesses Are Specific to Women
Some mental illnesses, particularly depression subtypes, are particularly brought on by female hormones or experiences. Here are a few instances of depression that are specific to women:
- Prenatal depression, which occurs during pregnancy, and postpartum depression, which occurs after giving birth, are both included in perinatal depression.
- Perimenopausal depression, which is brought on by changes in hormone levels and physiological processes before menopause
- Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, is a term used to describe the relatively moderate emotional and hormonal swings that usually occur before a monthly cycle. PMDD is an exaggerated form of PMS.
Few medical professionals will contest the idea that hormones like oestrogen and the menstrual cycle are probably contributing factors to women’s increased rates of depression. But scientific investigation hasn’t yet identified a clear-cut reason that makes sense.
Male and Female Symptoms Can Vary
Men and women are affected by bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and related mental illnesses at about equal rates. But just as symptoms vary throughout individuals, they also frequently fluctuate between men and women. Ladies should be alert for the following signs and symptoms:
- Abrupt and notable shifts in appetite or sleep patterns
- Unexpected weight increase or loss
- Unjustified anxiety, terror, or paranoia
- Persistent dejection and/or hopelessness
- Extreme mood swings
- Unknown cause of physical discomfort (headaches, stomach problems, etc.)
- Auditory or visual hallucinations
- Suicidal ideas or deeds (please call a suicide hotline right away if you or a loved one is suffering suicidal thoughts or deeds).
While both sexes may experience many of these symptoms, women may experience them more frequently or more intensely. See a doctor right away if you experience any of these symptoms on a regular basis.
Women Are More Likely to Talk to Primary Care Physicians About Their Mental Health
A woman is more likely to discuss her mental health issues with her primary care physician if she gets medical attention for depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues. (In the meantime, men are more likely to consult a specialist initially.) This can be because a patient and primary care physician have developed a trusting relationship over time. Unfortunately, there are two sides to the gender gap. Women are more likely than men to reveal mental health issues to primary care physicians, which can help the physician make an outstanding referral and provide a more comprehensive picture of the patient’s overall health.
Given that women are more likely than males to develop depression and need professional assistance, this is especially advantageous. However, despite having comparable results on mental health exams, female patients are diagnosed with depression at a higher rate than male patients. This can be problematic since it may lead to a misleading diagnosis for a woman who is generally mentally sound, while a man’s symptoms may be more readily ignored.
Even while mental health has advanced significantly, there is still much to learn about how it affects different people. Gender must be taken into account as a significant component in mental health, from determining risk factors to treating illnesses.
We can all do our part to assist women better understand their mental health and seek treatment when necessary by promoting awareness and de-stigmatizing mental health issues.