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Depression and Women

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According to the National Institute of Mental Health, there are 12 million clinically depressed women in the United States and 6 million clinically depressed men. One out of ever 8 women is depressed … and there are twice as many women than men with depression. So, what is going on?

There is room here to argue that men’s symptoms surface so differently that their depression goes undetected, or that men are less likely to seek help, thus less likely to be diagnosed. Arguments aside, that is a lot of women with depression, 12 million too many. Depression is a serious debilitating disease. According to the World Health Organization, “Depression is the leading cause of disability as measured by YLD (Years Living with a Disability) [in the world!].” Depression is not sadness, though the word depression is used to describe sadness, depression is an illness with sadness being one of its many possible symptoms.

What are the symptoms of depression? According to McWilliams and Bloomfield’s renowned book How to Heal Depression symptoms of depression may include:

Persistent sad or "empty" mood;
Loss of interest or pleasure in ordinary activities, including sex;
Decreased energy, fatigue, being "slowed down";
Sleep disturbances (insomnia, early-morning waking, or oversleeping);
Eating disturbances (loss of appetite and weight, or weight gain);
Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions;
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness;
Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts;
Excessive crying; and
Chronic aches and pains that don't respond to treatment

Dr. Virginia Valian is a professor who teaches gender and psychology at Hunter College and who wrote one of the most important books I have ever read, Why So Slow? In her book and her lectures, she describes how the accumulation of small disadvantages creates the gap between the success of women and men within our culture.

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Hi, Anon, and welcome to EmpowHer. I'm so glad you found us here.

I broke out your question on its own so that readers with similar experiences might find it better. Here's a link to it and any responses:


June 4, 2009 - 8:59am
EmpowHER Guest

Through searching for an answer about my sex life I found this site, and thought I would search the depression area for help.
My boyfriend(of 2 yrs) has recently(over the last5 mnths) shown little to no interest in sexy anymore, I feel that I am the man and he is the steriotyped"woman" as I want sex frequently.

We both recently lost our jobs, altho we dont leave until a few weeks,is stress the cause? or depression? He seems to lack motivation sometimes, and will make a list to eat better and go to the gym more but then it never materialises which makes him feel worse, hes irritable and if i mention it he gets defensive and feels hes not good enough etc.

I have suffered from depression since an early age, and self harm used to be on my toplist of controlling thoughts(never suicide just pain to distract) When i found out i was to lose my job I started cutting again, but I am reasonably well controlled in comparison to a year ago.

I'm just starting to get to the end of the line, as to me..having sex makes me feel like we are a couple, instead of mates who have a laugh sometimes and live together, its really getting me down, but if i talk about it...he snaps and anything sex related(even on tv) he finds difficult.

what to do what to do, any advise would be great. hmmph

June 3, 2009 - 6:08am
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