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Depression In Women. The Symptoms And Treatment

Apr 18, 2008
**Please remember that no part of this article is intended to take the place of professional or medical advice. This article provides limited information and does not attempt to diagnosis or treat any illnesses or disorder. Please contact a qualified professional, regarding any health or mental health need.**

According to The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) women experience depression at twice as often as men. It may actually be more accurate to say that women recognize and seek treatment for depression twice as often as men, but that is a discussion for another day. It is estimated that 20 percent of women will be clinically depressed at some time in their lives. This makes depression a very important issue for women's health.

While the causes of depression in women are varied, complex and still being studied, we do know that, depression is a serious illness that is highly treatable. This is important for every woman to keep in mind. Putting off treatment and ignoring the symptoms will impair the quality of your life, the quality of your relationships and the quality of life of your other family members. Depression can also bring on physical symptoms and worsen those that are already present. The good news is that because depression is highly treatable, once treatment begins, you will probably start to feel better very soon.

Depression is not a sign of weakness and is no cause for shame. Many, many people experience depression. If you think you are depressed, putting yourself down or feeling guilty about it only makes the depression worse. Hoping it will just "go away" is usually of little value, as well. Proper treatment is the surest and most effective way to overcome depression.

Depression is most commonly treated with counseling and medication. If you recognize some of the symptoms (listed below) in yourself, contact your doctor right away. Your doctor can diagnose, prescribe treatment and/or make the necessary referrals. Some people are uneasy about medication. Make sure you discuss any of your concerns about the treatment options with your doctor.

If you have recently had a baby and are experiencing symptoms of depression this is even more urgent. Post partum depression can worsen quickly, but with proper treatment has a very good recovery rate.

Below is a list of the symptoms of depression, according the National Institute of Mental Health. Contact your doctor if you are experiencing any of these.

**Persistent sad, anxious or "empty" mood.

**Loss of interest or pleasure in activities, including sex.

**Restlessness, irritability, or excessive crying.

**Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, hopelessness, pessimism.

**Sleeping too much or too little, early-morning awakening or difficulty getting out of bed.

**Decreased appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain.

**Decreased energy, fatigue, feeling "slowed down".

**Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts (seek medical attention immediately if you experience this one).

**Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions.

**Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders and chronic pain.

The National Institute of Mental Health is an excellent resource. To access and download their booklet about depression in women go to the following address: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/women-and-mental-health/index.shtml
About the Author
Linda Rolufs is the mother of five children and a practicing Marriage and Family Therapist. Visit her website - AMothersMinute.com - a place that celebrates the experience of motherhood and affirms each mother's own unique wisdom. You will find great parenting ideas for moms, year round family fun and women's health topics.
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