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Women’s Mental Health- Coping with Depression

If you are a woman experiencing depression, an anxiety disorder, or another mental
health condition, you are not alone.

Depressive illnesses are serious medical illnesses that affect more than 19
million American adults age 18 and over each year.
According to a recent survey by the Substance
Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 29 million American
women, or about 23 percent of the female population, have experienced
depression.

Depression is not a normal part of being a woman, as many people wrongly believe; However, depression in women occurs many times more than in men.

Depression is a treatable medical illness that can occur in any woman, at any time, and for various reasons regardless of age, race or income.

It’s natural to feel “down” sometimes, but if that low mood lingers day
after day, it could signal depression.  Major depression is an episode
of sadness or apathy along with other symptoms that lasts at least
two consecutive weeks and is severe enough to interrupt daily
activities.

Depression is not a sign of weakness or a negative personality. It is a major public health problem and a treatable medical condition.

Clinical depression is a serious pervasive mood disorder that cause feelings
of worthlessness and sadness. It can be mild, moderate and severe.

Apathy, little appetite, low self-esteem and fatigue are usually symptoms of
mild to moderate depression. However, severe depression has a more
profound implication; they include:

  1. Pessimism, hopelessness and
    worthlessness.
  2. Early- morning waking
  3. Sleeping too much or too little.
  4. Feeling guilty
  5. Irritability, or excessive crying.
  6. Thoughts of suicide, or suicide
    attempts.
  7. Loss of interest in pleasurable
    activities like sex.
  8. Shifts
    in mood, such as feeling overly sensitive.
  9. Unusual
    irritability or anger

The Root of Depression

Depression could be hereditary, it could run in the family. Usually,
hereditary depression starts as a teenager. A family link to
depression is much more common in women. But there is not an apparent
link to explain why some women develop clinical depression.

There are many factors that increase the risk of depression in women; they
could be reproductive factors, generic and biological factors and
some psychological and personality factors.

Chemical imbalance.
Imbalance of chemical in the brain can be a cause for depression. In some people who has depression, part of the brain that manage mood, appetite, sleep and behavior may not have the right balance of chemical.

Hormones level.
Also changes in the female hormones’ estrogen and progesterone during
menopause, pregnancy or menstrual cycle may raise the risk of
depression in women. A miscarriage is also a very high factor for
depression in a woman.

Stress.
Stressful life events such as trauma or the loss of a loved one may cause
depression, as well as a bad relationship or work responsibilities,
abuse and even poverty may cause depression.

Family history
women with family history of depression are more at risk than other, but it
could happen to any other woman.

Women’s mental health- Depression and it impacts in daily life.

Without treatment, the physical and emotional
turmoil brought on by depression can derail careers, hobbies, and
relationships. People with depression often find it difficult to
concentrate and make decisions. They turn away from previously
enjoyable activities, including sex. In severe cases, depression can
become life-threatening.

It is vital to understand that depression
could arise suicidal thoughts. This is a temporary condition but it
could be very overwhelming. You might feel like your pain is too overwhelming to bear, but those feelings don’t last forever.

People do make it through suicidal thoughts.

If you ever think of hurting yourself, call somebody immediately and
tell them how you feel. Many thoughts of suicide are impulses that go away after a short period of time. You need to talk to somebody.

Many women, trying to cope with the psychological effects of depression, turn into non-healthy behavior like alcohol and drugs. This new pattern, instead of helping them, creates a set of circumstances conducive to more depression.

Drugs or alcohol can make your mental health
condition worse and can affect how medicines used to treat depression
work. Alcohol and drugs only may give you a sense of
self-realization but this is only temporally. At the end, the root of
depression will show up with aggravated consequences.

Fighting Back Depression-What can I do when feeling depressed?

Even when the way you feel when you’re depressed may be due to biological conditions, how you react to it is always something that you can control.
Talk to someone like a health professional or any close friend about your symptoms. Do not keep it to yourself.

Most of the time, talking about how you feel to your friend, can be of great help. Together you may see things differently.

However, it is very important to seek professional help. A mental health professional may treat depression with therapy, medicine or both. Many times, mild depression can be successfully treated with therapy.

Most severe depression are caused by chemical imbalance in the brain. People with severe depression might need to be treated with antidepressant medications and other forms of therapy.
Antidepressants are chemical used in medicine to alter the balance of chemical in the brain.

Women entering treatment can expect to take antidepressants as well as
making behavioral and nutritional changes. Patients should limit
their consumption of caffeine, alcohol, and salt. They should also
consider lowering their sugar intake and eating more complex
carbohydrate. Regular exercise and using relaxation techniques are
also recommended.

Perhaps the most common reason why we get depressed is because our expectations are not met.
It is absolutely necessary that you take a close look to your circumstance.
Most of the time you have unrealistic expectations and when you
aren’t able to fulfill them, then you feel “down”

Be more tolerant with yourself and understand your limitations. You can only do so much even when you desire to achieve a million thing in your life.
Also, be aware that people surrounding you are different from you. They are not always ready to follow your agenda. The more you work on yourself, the better you will understand others and the fewer expectations you will have on them.

Keeping a positive mental attitude, exercising regularly and keeping a healthy diet are factors that will also help you to eliminate stressful situations and therefore reducing chance of being depressed.

All the best

Justina Lantigua de Quezada

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