The gender gap is not limited to wages–it exists in mental health too. While it is unknown exactly why many more women suffer from depression than men, it is known that there are critical elements that differentiate the experience of men and women. With a large population in an urban city, it is important to find the proper care to treat depression in Los Angeles.
Depression is a mood disorder caused by genetics, hormones, environment, and personal circumstances. Symptoms include feelings of sadness, anxiousness, loss of interest in activities, lack of energy, change in appetite, mood swings, sleep problems, digestive issues, aches, and suicidal thoughts.
Depression in Los Angeles: Women and depression
There is a gender gap in mental health. Research has found that women are twice as likely than men to endure clinical depression in their lifetime. This is partly due to biological factors. Women are biologically more prone to stress which leads to depression. For example, an increased level of progesterone interferes with stress hormones leveling out. Hormonal imbalances such as perimenopause, menopause, menstruation, and pregnancy intensify stress and thus increase the chances of depression. These hormonal types of depression are uniquely women’s issues. Girls can develop depression during puberty when hormones fluctuate and sexuality and identity issues arise. Women who have periods may experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS) which occurs when there are changes in estrogen, progesterone, or serotonin. When a woman becomes pregnant, what should be a happy time may cause unwanted stress for others. She may experience depression due to relationship problems, miscarriage, unwanted pregnancy, or change in lifestyle. Additionally, a woman can develop postpartum depression, depression after giving birth, because of a fluctuation in hormones, birth or infant complications, or a lack of support. Occasionally, women will develop depression when they hit menopause when there is a dramatic drop in estrogen levels.
There are also social causes that contribute to women being more susceptible to stress. Depression can begin at a young age as a child goes through puberty and is exposed to beauty standards, expectations, or being objectified. Negative body image has been correlated with depression. Women are also exposed to social norms that heighten stress. This includes balancing work and home, caregiving, providing emotional support to others, and many other women-specific issues.
Working with a therapist
While it is normal to experience mood changes due to circumstances, extended depression is an indicator of a chronic disorder. A professional can help a woman cope with the disorder and decrease the intensity of symptoms. Depending on the woman’s medical background, preferences, and needs, a therapist can offer several types of treatment to combat depression. This includes psychotherapy, psychodynamic therapy, CBT, alternative therapies, and group therapy.
For more information on depression in Los Angeles, call Trauma and Beyond Center ® at (818) 651-0725.