Depression and Gender

Does there exist a gender difference with regards to being susceptible to the symptoms of depression? While statistics indicate that women are more likely to suffer from depression than men there may be an entirely different reason for these numbers that may surprise some people.

It has been known for some time that symptoms of depression are more often seen in women. It has been assumed that women are more susceptible to depression but also the amount of depressive episodes recorded for women has doubled over the last 30 years. American women are twice as likely to suffer from depression as men. In Britain 18% of women over 50 are likely to need depression treatment while only 11% of men. The question is why should more women than men be suffering from depression?

Symptoms of depression are seen more in women than men

A recent study has been looking into this question. The important point to be gleaned from the results of the research is that these mental health episodes are not being triggered by genetics or inherent DNA only found in the female sex. It would seem they are more likely to be facilitated by the pressures that women are now under in modern society. The author of the study, Professor Hans-Ulrich Wittchen stated that it is almost as if women are now suffering from the new freedoms they have found in the 20th and 21st centuries. Women are now faced with having to carry the “tremendous burden” of balancing the stresses and pressures of a bringing up a family and following a career.

However, this theory is questionable when you put it into context with the lives of women from previous generations. Surely there would have been a great deal of repressed stress, frustration and depression when women could not show their true capabilities and abilities and had to live in a world of boredom, spiritual confinement and repression. The more likely answer to the reason why we see women in depression treatment is because women are better at asking for help. Therefore when there are symptoms of depression they are more likely to seek medical assistance. It is a sad fact that statistics show that as many as four times as many men die from suicide as women. In the end these statistics show not the susceptibility of women to depression is higher, but they are more likely to accept help than men, and so are therefore more likely to show up in statistics.