Depression in Women

Depression and What You Should Know

Be Kind to Your Mind
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General public health information


Depression is a REAL medical condition just like diabetes or other health conditions. I tell women I work with that the key is learning how to manage depression.  I will give you some tools to use to help manage your depression. Depression can be biological and chronic.  It can feel like a very dark cloud has consumed your life. Depression is debilitating.

IT'S OK TO ASK FOR HELP and most times treatment is needed.

Certain types of depression are unique to women. Pregnancy, the postpartum period, perimenopause, and the menstrual cycle are all associated with dramatic physical and hormonal changes. Certain types of depression that occur at different stages of a woman’s life include: Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) Most people are familiar with the term “PMS” or premenstrual syndrome. Moodiness and irritability in the weeks before menstruation are quite common and the symptoms are usually mild. But there is a less common, more severe form of PMS called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). PMDD is a serious condition with disabling symptoms such as irritability, anger, depressed mood, sadness, suicidal thoughts, appetite changes, bloating, breast tenderness, and joint or muscle pain. Perinatal Depression Being pregnant isn’t easy. Pregnant women commonly deal with morning sickness, weight gain, and mood swings. Caring for a newborn is challenging too. Many new moms experience the “baby blues”—a term used to describe feelings of worry, unhappiness, mood swings, and fatigue. These feelings are usually somewhat mild, last a week or two, and then go away as a new mom adjusts to having a newborn. Perinatal depression is depression during or after (postpartum) pregnancy. Perinatal depression is much more serious than the “baby blues.” The feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that accompany perinatal depression may make it difficult to complete daily care activities for a new mom and/or her baby. If you think you have perinatal depression, you should talk to your doctor or a trained mental health care professional. If you see any signs of depression in a loved one during her pregnancy or after the child is born, encourage her to see a health care provider or visit a clinic. Perimenopausal Depression Perimenopause (the transition into menopause) is a normal phase in a woman’s life that can sometimes be challenging. If you are going through perimenopause, you might be experiencing abnormal periods, problems sleeping, mood swings, and hot flashes. But it is a myth that it is “normal” to feel depressed. If you are struggling with irritability, anxiety, sadness, or loss of enjoyment at the time of the menopause transition, you may be experiencing perimenopausal depression. Depression affects each woman differently. Not every woman who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some women experience only a few symptoms. Others have many. The severity and frequency of symptoms, and how long they last, will vary depending on the individual and her particular illness. Symptoms may also vary depending on the stage of the illness.


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  • Sleep problems
  • Change in appetite
  • Irritability
  • Loss of pleasure
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Difficulty thinking
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Depression is more than sadness. It is a constant state of of feeling doom and gloom that goes on day after day. Difficulty getting of bed, feeling unmotivated, isolating the above symptoms.

Depression is more prevalent in women. Women are more likely to seek help and support.