Over 7% of the United States population meets the diagnostic criteria for major depression. Major depression is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental illnesses in the country. Although depressive disorders impact people of all ages and genders, there is a notable gender disparity. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), women are almost twice as likely as men to have symptoms of depression. While this does not indicate depression is an expected “part of being a woman,” the rate of depression among women globally may point to various factors that increase a woman’s risk for developing depression.
What Is Depression?
Depression (major depressive disorder) is a mood disorder that leads to feelings of constant sadness and hopelessness. Although everyone feels sad from time to time, depression symptoms will persist for two weeks or more and affect one’s ability to participate in everyday activities, including school, work, and relationships with family and friends.
Depression impacts the entire person. In addition to mood changes and emotional changes, it can affect one’s ability to sleep, eat and function in their day-to-day environment. It is important to note that depression is more than a case of the blues. When someone has a major depressive disorder, the emotions are so strong and overwhelming that they cannot pull themselves out of feeling down without seeking mental health treatment.
Are Women More Prone to Depression?
Pinpointing why women may be more prone to depression is difficult. There is a wide range of potential contributing factors but little research to show a direct link. Biology, genetics, social factors, and psychological factors all play a part.
The most important link may be biological. For women, rates of depression typically increase at the onset of puberty and remain high through perimenopause (middle age). A high percentage of women experience various depressive disorders during pregnancy, menstruation, and perimenopause. Genetics is also essential to consider. Depression, like many mental health conditions, can span generations. The National Alliance on Mental Illness indicates there is a 25% or higher rate of depression among female first and second-degree relatives. The list of psychosocial factors that may increase the risk for depression in women is long. It includes trauma, sexual and physical abuse, lack of social supports, sexual discrimination, and the stress of managing multiple family and work responsibilities each day.
The major depressive disorder will not go away without treatment. In many cases, untreated mental health conditions can devolve into more significant medical and mental health concerns, including addiction, self-harm, and new or worsening co-occurring psychological and physical health disorders. If you are concerned about your or a loved one’s mental health, it is essential to reach out for help at a women-focused treatment center like Casa Serena.
How to Get Help With Depression and Addiction Today
Depression can increase the risk of other chronic physical and mental health illnesses, including addiction. As many as 1/3 of people with clinical depression also struggle with a substance use disorder (dual-diagnosis). For some, drugs and alcohol lead to addiction, and for others, drugs and alcohol are used to self-medicate their depression symptoms. Unfortunately, intoxication often leads to worsening symptoms. When symptoms worsen, increasing substance use occurs to try to dull the pain. It’s a vicious circle that is difficult, if not impossible, to get out of without help.
If you or a loved one struggles with depression and addiction, help is here at Casa Serena. At our women-focused treatment center, we will work with you to ensure your treatment plan addresses all aspects of your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. If you are ready to start your journey to health and well-being, contact our admissions team to learn more about dual-diagnosis treatment and how you can get help with depression and addiction today.