Intense sadness, feeling upset or numb, and associated physical issues could be the starting point for depression. People tend to experience loss of appetite or overeat. They do not feel happy or do things that they used to like. People have digestive disorders and experience bouts of extreme pain. There is either loss of appetite or overeating. One tends to sleep too much or does not sleep at all. People have difficulty in focusing and feel confused. In general, people feel detached and often think of death.
Depression is not a new disease. It had existed during the Shakespeare era. But clinical recognition of depression patients has risen all over the world. According to WHO (World Health Organisation), around 4 percent of the total population suffered from the condition in 2015. The actual numbers could be much more.
The causes of depression are various. There are suggestions for its genetic nature. Deficiency of brain chemicals or neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine could lead to mood offs, lethargy, and confusion. Often external factors lead to the onset of the condition. Physical, mental, or sexual abuse, the sudden departure of a loved one, loss in business, professional setbacks, prolonged illness, and addictions could lead to a depressed state. It is a curable condition.
At times, counseling, similar to those held by meetingsnearby.com, is sufficient. It is crucial to recognize the symptoms and get medicated. So, here we discuss how it affects men and women differently.
1. Depression is more common in women:
Women are often more stressed. They need to manage work and have more responsibility in running the family. Also, women are more vulnerable and face abusive situations. Hormonal fluctuations due to menstruation, childbirth, and menopause also have a role in causing the issue. The same happens with teenagers too. Women invest in relationships and are more likely to be affected by breakups or bereavement. In men, the causes are different, like failures in profession or business.
2. Women show more symptoms:
Women are more expressive and likely to tell a friend or a closed one about their feelings. Women tend to be sad, emotional, and become lonely. They have sleeping and eating disorders. Our society accepts when women complain or seek help. But among men, there is an urge to be stoic and independent. Thus, they may not realize sad feelings or disturbances. Moreover, women tend to have anxiety disorders and develop new phobias. So, it becomes easy to detect the problem in women.
3. Men are more prone to drugs:
Men often hide their feelings. They divert themselves by going on long rides, playing mobile games, etc. They take drugs and alcohol to cope with sadness and anxiety. Moreover, many do not accept that they are depressed. Rather than feeling sad, men become angry and irritable. They unknowingly drink more or begin using drugs to cope with unpleasant situations or memories of a past incident. But these addictive substances make the underlying depression worse.
4. Men act normally:
For many men, admitting their problem is equivalent to lowering their self-esteem. They like to be independent and try to find solutions on their own. Moreover, men are not supposed to be weepy and panicky. They wish to be bold and often ignore depression symptoms as stress. At times, men report physical difficulties like lack of sleep or headaches and do not recognize emotional disturbances. Thus, there are chances of a wrong diagnosis too. The system needs to educate them that depression is a disease like heart ailments or diabetes. It has treatments, and one could stop taking extreme measures like suicide.
5. DSH activities are prevalent in women:
Women in depression tend to harm themselves. It is known as deliberate self-harm (DSH). It can be of various forms like skin-cutting, headbanging, non-lethal drug overdose, etc. People resort to such activities for drawing attention from close ones. They may not openly express, and one has to look for signals. For example, they may be wearing long, full sleeves in summer, may not attend social gatherings, etc. It is an indication that they require immediate help.
6. Higher suicide rates in men:
The number of women who are depressed has been more than that of men. But as per statistical data, men are more likely to die by suicide. Interestingly, women have higher rates of suicidal thoughts and make more attempts. One of the reasons could be the severity of the methods chosen. Depressed men preferred violent methods like firearms, hanging, jumping, vehicle exhaust gas, etc. Women go for less harmful ones like drug overdose, slit wrist, etc.
7. The difference in treatments:
Women tend to be in contact with doctors or the health care system from an early stage, maybe for menstrual issues, pregnancy, etc. Thus they opt for clinical consultation more freely than men. Women’s depression is often related to a lack of care, relationship issues, etc. But in men, the primary reason is lack of achievement. They may not detect the problem at an early stage. So, women are more likely to be treated with psychotherapy than men.
Also, responses to antidepressant drugs vary in men and women. For example, in women, sertraline is more effective than imipramine, and it is vice versa in men.
Around 264 million people in the world suffer from depression. Thus, it is a prevalent disorder, and there should not be any stigma associated with it. We need to enhance its awareness among people. The earlier one detects the issue faster is the recovery period. Living in denial mode and keeping quiet could worsen the situation.
Treatments start with lifestyle changes like regular exercising, making artwork, yoga, meditation, etc. It is also necessary to have a balanced diet. One has to ensure a natural supply of essential body chemicals. Psychotherapy plays a significant role as the professionals try to understand the underlying cause of the disease. Moreover, based on it, the treatment methods have to be personalized. Self-medication is a strict no for depression. The doctors need to monitor the patients at regular intervals and modify the antidepressant volumes accordingly. People need to be aware that self-medication is a big no.
Also Read: Why mental health is important to beat depression?