Depression in Women

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Depression is invading people’s lives all over the world. Just until recent years, the diagnosis of depression did not exist, and treatment was not possible because depression was not considered an illness, simply something demonic. Researchers have paved a hefty path towards the discovery of depression, its symptoms, and possible treatments; following the first sighting of depression with Job and Saul in the First Testament. The understanding of this illness is still incomplete and will continue to be the subject of research and discussion until lab tests are created, concrete symptoms declared, and effective treatments are accomplished. Individuals diagnosed with depression have been reported to have shorter life expectancy, this is due to lower immune systems that combat illnesses and the susceptibility to suicide. Depression can affect any race, ethnicity, gender, and age group throughout the world. However, when groups of men and women are compared and surveyed it is often found that women are more likely to be depressed and show enhanced symptoms. According to Stoppard (2000),“The term depression refers to a condition characterizing an individual that encompasses a set of experiences which include symptoms such as the following: feelings of sadness, dejection, hopelessness or despair, coupled with extremely pessimistic thoughts about one’s self, situation and future prospects; lack of interest or pleasure in activities usually engaged in, along with social withdrawal; various bodily complaints including aches and pains, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, loss of appetite; and in some cases suicidal thoughts or actions.” (p.7) The National Institute of Mental Health (2012) found “several factors may contribute to depression in women; Genes, Brain chemistry and hormones, postpartum depression, and stress”. Depression has shown some tendency to run in families. If someone in a family is clinically depressed, a very close relative has a higher risk than someone in the general population of developing depression. However, this is not a concrete rule. When very close relatives to more distant relatives are analyzed, the likelihood of a depressive illness occurring begins to decrease. It seems the combination of several genes with environmental or other factors may be the constant factors of the development of depression; Robins (1993) agreed with these factors in Understanding Depression, “What we have in some people is a genetic vulnerability that increases the risk of becoming depressed should environmental conditions develop that promote depression.” A significant factor in depressive disorders is brain chemistry. Researchers using technology such as MRI’s have discovered that the brain of a depressed person looks significantly different than that of a relatively healthy person. In a depressed individual’s brain, certain sections seem to be functioning abnormally. Usually the areas affected during depression are held responsible for certain moods, sleep, appetite, cognitive thought and behavior. The cells in the human brain use chemicals called neurotransmitters for communication with the body. Two neurotransmitters in particular, norepinephrine and serotonin, appear to play a big role in depression. In many depressed people, there are problems in the way these neurotransmitters are working; there are imbalances in norepinephrine and serotonin. These neurotransmitters are targeted in antidepressants. A concerning discovery is that serotonin is linked to suicide. Low levels of serotonin activity have previously been discovered in autopsies, this is especially displayed when the suicide committed was a violent act. Although serotonin levels are believed to affect depression, there is no way to measure or prove this theory as of yet. Hormones in females are believed to highly affect depression. Puberty, before menstrual periods, during, and just after pregnancy, premenopausal and during menopause are the optimal periods for...
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