Last modified: August 2, 2019
Richard Honaker M.D.View Full Profile
Women are more susceptible to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Learn more about mental health with 4 of the most common issues.
One out of five American adults, at some point in their lives, will experience some form of mental illness. Men and women are prone to different disorders. Men are more likely to develop substance abuse and antisocial problems. Women, on the other hand, are more susceptible to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
Experiencing any of the succeeding families of mental health conditions that are more prevalent in women is actually common and treatable with the right mental health care.
Ten to fifteen percent of women will most likely go through depression at least once in their lives. That would be twice as much as the men who develops the illness. Women go through biological changes in their lives and these shifts in cycles disrupt, malfunction or even create diseases.
That’s why proper mental health care is much needed everywhere. Availing this type of service should become common wherever you are.
One particular common cause of illness is hormones. It wreaks havoc on the mental health of most women. This will be most evident during childbirth, which could result to postpartum depression. Women could also develop premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
Symptoms of this disorder are similar to major depressive disorder, which makes it common for some physicians to label it as a major depressive disorder instead of the actual disorder. Women are therefore advised to seek the help of professionals who have mental health specializations to get the proper mental health care specifically catered to depression.
As women are common to be more introspective than men and mental health care is not usually sought because they are more encouraged to just shake things off and tough it out. Women are expected to be mindful of their thoughts, feelings, and appearance. This internalized way of coping with distress is connected to greater mental health problems.
Apart from those factors, women still bear the responsibilities of housework, caregiving, and maintain the social schedule of the family, while having a full time job. Add to that the less salary that women get, which causes financial strains.
Then, they have to deal with feeling guilty of being away from their children while at work. Women also live longer than men, which gives them more opportunities to experience bereavement and loneliness. Experiencing all of these would naturally drive anyone to developing this type mental health problem.
The common root of depression among women is low self-esteem, developed through the consistent social and cultural expectations that were instilled on them from a very young age. Seeing that such cause have been rooted for a very long time, appropriate mental health care is needed to make sure proper treatment and resolution is received.
Women are more than twice as likely as men to develop an anxiety disorder. Common symptoms are mainly increased worrying, tension, exhaustion, and fear. Social and cultural norms and other different stressors contribute to developing this mental health problem.
This is even more heightened because women just internalize their problems. They do not seek the mental health care that they need.
Biological factor is also carefully studied in relation to anxiety. Estradiol, a primary gonadal hormone in women is thought to be responsible for mediating some of the sex differences observed in psychiatric disorders.
PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
PTSD is actually a type of anxiety disorder, but given its own mention because women also tend to develop this mental health problem twice as much as men do. The reason for this is that women tend to have specific types of trauma like sexual abuse and assault that are linked with greater risks of PTSD.
Women are also more likely to blame themselves with beliefs that their incompetence resulted to the trauma. It is common for women to cope by disengaging mentally and suppressing the horrific memories. This way of expressing the emotional distress explains greater rates of PTSD in women.
Add that to the fact that women starts out with an already higher baseline of depression and anxiety. Immediate mental health care is needed for women who have PTSD to avoid worsening of the conditions.
Eating disorders are mostly considered women’s mental health diseases despite the fact that some men are also afflicted by them. This is mostly because of things that are usually linked with femininity like vanity, self-control, emotionality, and perfectionism.
These disorders have become so common among women today that proper mental health care is not even considered. There’s an exponential pressured placed on women to conform to certain standards of thinness and fitness.
Cultural standards for women are focused on weight, shape, and appearance, which naturally impact their relationship with food and their body.
The most common type of eating disorder is Binge Eating Disorder. It’s even more common than anorexia and bulimia combined. It affects almost three million American adults. Bingeing for women is considered to be something to be hidden and kept as a secret because it’s shameful and very emotional.
This disorder is actually dangerous not just in terms of mental health but in terms of physical health as well. Anyone who is seen struggling with one needs immediate treatment and the best possible mental health care.
Now that you’ve been made aware of the possible severity of these illnesses if remained untreated, be wary of the symptoms. Don’t be ashamed to seek the appropriate mental health care that you need. It will make life better for you and for the people around you.
What other mental health issues are important to women? If you have questions about mental health, talk to a doctor for free today.
Dr. Gary Chaimowitz (Psychiatry): With more than 35 years of specialty expertise, my professional practice includes Head of Service, Forensic Psychiatry at St. Joseph’s Healthcare, as well as Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada. I am a Certified Physician Executive through the American College of Physicians, and also hold an MBA from the University of Toronto.
Submitted by Dr. Richard Honaker: http://www.independentmedicalexaminer.com/IME-Directory/Virginia/Dr-Richard-A-Honaker-MD.asp
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