Depression is characterized by various symptoms such as lack of motivation, low mood, sleeping challenges, loss of pleasure in favorite activities and hobbies, feelings of guilt and sadness, changes in appetite, and lack of concentration. Here we look at how depression affects different genders.
People with depression may experience some of the mentioned symptoms, though in some cases, depression may present different symptoms from the ones mentioned. Depression may differ from one person to the other due to various contributing factors. Additionally, understanding the cause of depression for each individual is the key to effective treatment.
Gender Identity, Biological Sex, and Depression
Gender identity and biological sex are among the factors contributing to depression. It’s believed that males and females experience and express depression in different manners. However, this does not warrant the division of the condition into two various forms.
The difference may manifest in how the situation is expressed, but the intensity may still be the same in men and women. Gender identity and biological sex on their own may not have substantial impacts when it comes to depression.
However, when these factors are combined with other stressors such as rejection, sexism, trauma, discrimination, co-occurring mental problems such as anxiety, substance abuse, or eating disorders, the individual is more likely to suffer from depression.
Is Depression the Same In All Genders – Ways it Differs in Different Genders
Men and women may experience depression in different manners. Though they may experience some common signs and symptoms, understanding these differences may go a long way in ensuring that each individual receives proper diagnosis and treatment.
Due to biological reasons such as genes and hormones that are disrupted during the development of male and female fetus brain, women are twice at risk of developing depression compared to men. These changes that occur during fetal development may make women more vulnerable to mood disorders such as depression than men.
Additionally, women are good at expressing their feelings; hence they can get an earlier diagnosis for depression. On the other hand, men tend to hide their feelings, making it hard to know when they are depressed. Lack of early diagnosis makes the illness to be overlooked in men until it shows severe symptoms. The following are ways that depression may differ in different genders.
Men with depression are likely to engage in alcohol and substance abuse
Men are likely to engage in alcohol and substance abuse to self-medicate before the onset of depression, especially in teenage boys. On the other hand, women are only likely to engage in the same after the onset of depression or when anxiety levels increase. Depressed men may also hide their sadness by engaging in risky behavior such as reckless driving, gambling, unsafe sex, smoking, or working excessively. Depressed men and teenage boys are also likely to be more angry and irritated.
Depression symptoms in men may be harder to recognize
Though women are more likely to develop depression and are hit harder by it due to their biology, the condition in men is harder to identify. Health practitioners and family members cannot recognize these symptoms at an early stage; therefore most men who are depressed are more likely to develop severe symptoms before it’s detected.
Is Depression the Same In All Genders – Depressed women are more likely to ruminate
Ruminating means dwelling on or rehashing negative feelings. Most depressed women tend to ruminate compared to men with the same condition. Ruminating may involve mood swings such as crying for no reason, self-blame, and negative self-talk. This behavior is not healthy and can only worsen the case. Unlike women, men are likely to destruct themselves when they feel sad, hence easing their depression.
Women respond differently to stressful life events
Women are more likely to be depressed following stressful life events. For instance, in case of the death of a loved one, job loss, rejection by a romantic partner, or a problematic relationship, most women find it difficult to move on. Prolonged feelings of stress and sadness are most likely to lead to depression. Unlike women, men are likely to move on or distract themselves from experiencing prolonged sadness.
Men are more likely to commit suicide
Since depression in men can go for quite a while before being detected, the condition may eventually develop some more severe symptoms. Depressed men are most likely to have suicidal thoughts and successfully work on them.
Depressed women are more likely to have an eating disorder
Depression and eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are siblings – meaning a depressed woman is likely to have either of these eating disorders. Since some people seek refuge in eating, which may lead to weight gain, resulting in more mental challenges.
Depression In Sexual Minorities
Biological and social stressors are enormous in sexual minority groups. Depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts are high in these groups. It is believed that high risks of depression in trans people and those who identify as nonbinary start at an early age. Depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts are high in gender non-conforming youth compared to cisgender youth.
Is Depression the Same In All Genders – Final Thoughts
Depression is a severe mental health challenge that affects the general way of living. With depression, one’s ways of doing things are affected since most times, these individuals are sad and are unable to perform their duties.
As earlier stated, depression manifests differently in different people. For instance, women are believed to show signs and symptoms of depression earlier than men, making it possible for women to access help earlier. Since men are more likely to develop severe symptoms of depression that may be life-threatening due to late diagnosis of the condition, it’s advisable to listen to them whenever they open up and find help as soon as possible.
Remember that with early and proper diagnosis and treatment, depression is treatable. Ensure that you concentrate on things that make you happy, exercise more often, have enough rest, eat healthily, drink a lot of water, and avoid alcohol to keep mental problems at bay.