Women, Hormones, and Depression

Did you know that women are more susceptible to depression than men? This is in part due to the rising and falling hormone levels that they experience every month. This means that women must take extra care to notice the signs of depression and seek help when needed. In fact, there are two specific types of depression to watch out for: seasonal depression and postpartum depression. Therefore, during this time of year you must be extra vigilant about your mental health.

Seasonal depression, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is a form of depression that can be triggered by the longer nights and lack of daylight in the winter. Even SAD is more prevalent in females. In fact, in adults seasonal depression is reported in four times as many women than men. Once a woman hits menopause, the rate of SAD increases. This is due in part to the decreasing levels of estrogen and progesterone in a woman’s cycle, linking the hormones to depression.

Postpartum depression is another type of mental illness that affects only women. It is a temporary type of depression that some females experience after giving birth. This milestone wreaks havoc on the hormones and emotions of a woman. Therefore, it is no surprise that many women are left with some lingering effects after delivery. Postpartum depression affects approximately 15% of mothers. This is a common, yet overlooked condition that needs to be treated seriously. Postpartum depression can begin anytime before or after birth and can last for months. If left untreated, it can develop into suicidal thoughts/actions, or an extreme case of postpartum psychosis.

Again, we see how depression and mood disorders are influenced by hormones and the ever-changing levels that exist in female bodies. This means that women must pay attention to their mental health and be aware of times where they might be more susceptible to depression. While mood swings are to be expected, if you notice a long term change in yourself or another seek the help of a medical professional.