4 Key Factors Why Women Experience Depression More than Men

4 Key Factors Why Women Experience Depression More than Men

Women suffer from depression far more often than men do, due to social expectations and biological distinctions

Women suffer from depression far more often than men do. The American Institute of Stress has found women are twice as likely to experience major depression than man, and three times as likely to suffer from anxiety disorders or attempt suicide. There are a number of reasons behind this, ranging from social expectations to biological distinctions. Learn why women are more susceptible to depression and how to find effective treatment.

Biological Factors Predisposing Women to Depression

Women appear to have a more dominant genetic predisposition toward depression. This is a reason women are more susceptible to depressive episodes. But it is unreasonable to leave this only at the level of genetics.

A related biological factor for women is the fluctuation of hormones. Nobody will argue with the fact that women have more hormones flooding their bodies at regular (and irregular) times. The connection between hormones and depression can be subjectively supported when considering that women are far more likely to fall into depression during pregnancy and immediately post-partum, as well as in menopause. These three times are when the female body experiences major shifts in hormones.

Psychological Factors Explaining Women and Depression

There is also a psychological component to why women suffer from depression. Women tend to consider events and relationships at a deeper level than men. While men are quick to respond to stress with anger or a stoic face, and are morel likely to stuff pain away, women will generally turn inward and consider things more deeply.

The positive side of this is that women are typically more adept at problem solving, particularly relational problems, and find it easier to develop deep friendships. The negative aspect of this rumination is that it can lead to depression. Thinking over and over about a painful event can lend itself toward depressive feelings and actions.

One additional concept worth mentioning is that women are typically more invested in their important relationships. While a man may find it easier to just step away from a difficult person, a woman may find it far more emotionally draining to walk away from painful relationships, and the drain could lead to depression.

Sociocultural Challenges Unique to Women

As a result of many converging factors in the world’s economy and social movements, women and men are both expected to maintain full-time work outside the home. Unfortunately, this shift in responsibilities toward professions outside the home has not been accompanied by a realistic reduction in the expectations on the home front. As a result, a woman may be employed full-time, but is still expected to maintain the home as the primary cook, cleaner and caregiver for the children,.

This constriction or confusion of roles places a unique sociocultural burden on women that is foreign to men. It is likely that this unrealistic set of expectations leads to depressive episodes, particularly for single mothers or women with husbands who are inflexible.

Time Management

The above factors conspire together to create a fourth risk – time management. In reality, to refer to the problem as time management is unfair. A better way to state it is that women often have too much on their proverbial plates to possibly accomplish in any given day. The to-do list gets pushed from one day to the next, but is never finished.

This unending state of being undone creates stress, and can lead to a sense of despair. “How will I ever finish all of this?” leads quickly into depression, as she comes to realize there is just too much. She is afraid to ask for help, because it is expected that she will be able to manage. Worse yet, someone will blame her hormones, or tell her it would be easier if she didn’t care so much.

Depression Is NOT Failure

Unfortunately, many women feel as though they have failed when depression rears its head in their lives. There is a sense that life got too difficult, and the accompanying cacophony of thoughts soon follows:

  • Why can’t you just be stronger?
  • Your neighbor/friend/pastor/sister would never crumble like this.
  • Don’t let anyone know.
  • You ought to be ashamed of yourself.
  • This is your fault.

All these lies have the same psychological effect – they push you down farther, if you accept them wholeheartedly. Once you begin to fall down the pit of despair, goaded on by these terrible myths, it can feel nearly impossible to escape. Before you know it, you are left with no strength to even consider moving on. But that is exactly what you need to do.

If this is where you are right now, the most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. We can help you. We can answer your questions. The admission counselors at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline can help you learn more about mental health issues. They can help you find your way.