Depression in Women
Depression is an illness manifested in many forms that can affect women at any point in their lives. Some women may experience a less severe, yet more chronic or longing lasting form of depression known as dysthymia, while others may suffer from bipolar depression, which involves periods of elevated moods alternating with periods of depressed moods. Seasonal affective disorder is another form of depression reported in approximately 10 percent of patients and occurs as the seasons change, beginning and ending about the same time each year.
Recognizing changes in your physical and mental health is important when diagnosing depression. Symptoms, including loss of interest in in enjoyable activities, an increase or decrease in sleep and/or appetite, loss of energy, difficulty concentrating, negative thoughts of hopelessness or helplessness, and, in some cases, thoughts of suicide or self-harm, are all signs of depression and should be discussed with a doctor or mental health professional.
Depression, like many other medical conditions, is different for every woman. And, like any other illness, seeking treatment for depression at the onset of symptoms can speed recovery and lead to better outcomes. Your health care provider will recommend safe, effective treatment options that may include interpersonal or cognitive behavioral talk therapies, or medications may be prescribed for short- or long-term use.
Denise Edwards, MSW, LISW, is a licensed independent social worker providing mental health therapy services at Mercy Comfort Health Center for Women. Learn more.