What are the symptoms of depression?
Although, depression is identified by a specific set of symptoms, including lack of motivation, loss of pleasure in activities and hobbies, changes in mood and appetite, sleep issues, feeling guilty, and difficulty concentrating, your biological sex can impact how those symptoms manifest.
Men vs. Women
Men and women experience depression in different ways. Women are 2x more likely to be diagnosed with depression than men. Women tend to be better able to describe their emotions when depressed. Men might not recognize their symptoms, and have a tendency to deny or hide their unhappiness.
There are many reasons you might have depressive symptoms. Genetic and socioeconomic issues can contribute, but it may also be because of hormonal differences. The hormonal changes experienced during pregnancy and menopause, as well as the stereotypical roles men and women play in society are also considered. Women are characterized as “emotional” and caregivers, while the idea of masculinity often dictates “acting tough” and self-reliance. Talking about your feelings can be considered “weak.”
7 Ways Depression May Look Different in Men and Women
- Women who have depression may dwell on negative feelings and events. Ruminating behavior may involve negative self-talk, crying for no obvious reason and blaming oneself. Men tend to distract themselves when feeling low.
- Men who are feeling down may turn to extremes like working too much and drinking too much. Alcohol and substance abuse issues are more common in men with depression.
- Women are more likely to become depressed after a stressful event, like losing a loved one or a job.
- Because of some outdated social expectations, symptoms in men are harder to diagnose and may be missed by family members or healthcare providers. Loss of interest in a favorite hobby or sport can be a red flag indicating depression.
- Women are more likely to have eating disorders, such as anorexia, bulimia or binge eating. Depression and eating disorders are often co-occurring disorders. Depression is also more likely to co-occur with an anxiety disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
- Although depression can easily be treated with medication, women and men both have different reactions to antidepressant medications with studies showing women respond better to pharma psychological treatments.
- Because men are inclined to not talk about their feelings or seek proper treatment, their symptoms tend to become more severe. Men are more likely to be successful than women in attempting suicide.
No matter the differences in experience, depression is a very treatable disease. Changing stereotypes and erasing the stigma associated with mental health treatment are a first step in proper diagnosis and accessing help. Developing healthy routines, incorporating talk therapy, social interactions, exercise, healthy eating and sleeping habits, are big steps towards making you feel better both mentally and physically.
If you’re experiencing the symptoms of depression, you can book a free 15 minute consult with us.