Women are moody. That’s the stereotype we often hear. There may be some truth to this and many reasons to explain it, but mostly the factors affecting moodiness are not within the control of women themselves. Let’s focus on some major factors of mood fluctuations in order to better understand women and mental health:
- Hormones: This is a major factor contributing to be the cause of mood changes. Females are encountered with a cascade of hormonal changes since the time they enter menarche (first menstrual cycle). The female hormones have a strong association with depression levels. Whether it is premenstrual days, pregnancy, post-pregnancy, use of contraceptive drugs, nearing menopause or menopause, women face a whole lot of fluctuations in these hormones, which manifest into mood swings.
- Lower thyroid hormone level: Women are also more apt to suffer from hypothyroidism, which is often associated with depression.
- Inheritance: Based on identical and fraternal twin studies and detailed family history records, it is observed that women tend to be twice as prone to depression as men.
- Sensitivity: Females are more attached in relationships and because they tend to be more sensitive; minor or major disruptions tend to affect them a lot.
- Exhaustion: More and more women are now working and it is becomes difficult to balance the work at the office and at home. Women between the ages of 25 and 40 are three to four times more likely to become depressed than men.
- Attitude for seeking help: Females are more conscious about seeking medical consultation (which is great news!) and are therefore more likely to be diagnosed. It has also been documented that physicians are more apt to make a diagnosis of depression in women than men with identical complaints just because they are biased that the incidence of depression is more common in women.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder occurs more common in women than men, and its incidence increases the farther away you go from the Equator. Sunlight obviously is invigorating for the mind and body. The amount of sunlight received by an area decreases as we move farther from the equator.
- Feeling less feminine: As women approach menopause, they tend to feel that they have aged and are old since they cannot bear children anymore. In contrast, men in today’s society can still seek younger and more attractive mates even as they age. This complex preference issue together with the mental block of feeling old add fuel to the fire and triggers depression.
Depression and anxiety are really overwhelming feelings. They can lead to a feeling that everything seems futile. A depressed state of mind prevents the body from smiling, working, eating and even talking. If you are a female facing this, try to recognize patterns so that you can seek help and deal with these complex issues. And, if you are a man who shares his time with women faced with mood fragility, please keep patience, empathize with their situation and lend a supportive attitude.
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