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Depression: Women, twice likely to suffer it

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Depression: Women, twice likely to suffer it

Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person’s thoughts, behaviour, feelings and sense of well being. Women suffering from depressed mood often feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless and helpless. They also feel worthless, guilty, irritable, angry, ashamed or restless in some cases.

Depressed person lose interest in activities that were once pleasurable, experience loss of appetite or overeating, have problems concentrating, remembering details or making decisions, experience relationship difficulties and may contemplate, attempt or commit suicide. Women have many life roles to play in life. They play as mother, wife (ves), employee, friend, healer, caregiver, endless one would say.

Some of these mood changes may be due to life events or activities such as getting in an argument with a friend in some cases. It could also be due to hormones changes (e.g. pregnancy, menstrual cycle).

Women are about twice as likely as men to suffer from depression. This two-to-one difference persists across racial, ethnic, economic divides and around the world. There are numbers of theories that attempt to explain higher incidence of depression in women.

Many factors have been attributed to include psychological, social and biological factors. Psychologically, women are more prone to causes of depression than men. With a tendency to be more emotional, women are more likely to rehash negative thoughts during bouts of depression.

Re- search has shown that ruminating about depression can cause it to last longer and even make it worse. Socially, coping skills, choice of relationships, and lifestyle choices affect women differently than men.

Women are more likely to develop depression from marital or relationship problems, work-life balance issues, financial troubles, and stressful life events, including the loss of a loved one, than men.

Biologically, Hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle can cause the familiar symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), such as bloating, irritability, fatigue, and emotional reactivity.

Try keeping a log of where you are in your menstrual cycle and how you are feeling— physically and emotionally.

This way, you will better anticipate when you need to compensate for the hormonal lows and reduce or avoid the resulting symptoms. Many hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can also contribute to depression.

The National Institutes of Health stated that signs and symptoms of depression vary from woman to woman.

According to the Institute, it is important to remember that depression, at any stage in life- for any reason, is serious and should be taken seriously. Just because you have been told that your symptoms are a “normal” part of being a woman does not mean you have to suffer in silence.

There are several ways a woman can treat depression and feel better.

WAYS OF SEEKING HELP

• It is safer and saner for a woman suffering from depression to seek treatment early to improve her quality of life.

Her first course of action should be a visit to a doctor or mental health professional who will ask her series of questions and perform tests to rule out an underly- ing medical condition causing her depression or determine if certain medications might be to blame for the depressed mental state.

“But you can get there if you act as if you feel like it and make positive choices for yourself each day and draw on the support of others,” the Institute said.

*Sunlight can help boost your mood aim for at least 15 minutes of sunlight a day.

* Share what you are going through with the people you love and trust, ask for the help and support you need from them.

When you’re depressed, it feels more comfortable to retreat into your shell but being around other people will make you feel less depressed.

Recent studies have shown that regular exercise can be as effective as antidepressant medication at increasing energy levels and decreasing feelings of fatigue. Depression typically involves sleeping problems. It’s either you’re sleeping too little or too much, your mood suffers.

Get on a better sleep schedule by learning healthy sleeping habits.

A daily relaxation practice can help relieve symptoms of depression, reduce stress, and boost feelings of joy and well-being.

An irritable mood brought about by depression can cause you to be unnecessarily critical of issues and harsh to your loved ones. It can also cause you to lash out over situations that would not normally bother you.

Depression can also cause you to feel empty or apathetic, which could also result in neglect of your relationships.

If you have children, taking care of yourself and regulating your mood during depressive episodes or hormonal lows is especially important. Studies have also shown that being raised by a mother with untreated depression has a significant negative effect on a child’s social, emotional, and cognitive development.

•Wanori is a part three student of mass communication University of Maiduguri

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