The importance of this week’s mental health topic is acknowledging the different types of depression and how it can affect women differently. Depression is a commonly associated mood disorder. Relatively, women have higher rates of depression than men, and this could result in three main factors that include biological, hormonal, and social. There has been an influx of research on medications and medical conditions that could contribute to depression. Many people associate the feeling of depression as constantly being sad, but that’s only a small portion. Other symptoms could be physical, emotional, and mental issues. Some of the most common physical symptoms are aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems. As women, we go through different changes and phases throughout our lives, which can be triggering for our bodies and cause an imbalance of hormones. The four common types of depression many women face are pregnancy, the postpartum period, perimenopause, and the menstrual cycle.
This article will go into detail about the four types of depression that are associated with women. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) refers to common symptoms such as moodiness and irritability in the weeks before women start to menstruate. PMS is a syndrome common in many women, but the less common form of this disorder is premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). PMDD is serious because the symptoms are disabling. These symptoms are irritability, anger, depressed mood, sadness, suicidal thoughts, appetite changes, bloating, breast tenderness, and joint or muscle pain. It’s normal for a women’s body to go through changes. During this phase, our bodies are going through a rush of emotions. The physical and chemical mechanism of a women’s body is changing. Respectively, women are going to go through sporadic mood changes.
Remember, being pregnant is not easy because women are beginning to factor another human-being into her life. Of course, you have the rush of hormones, mood swings, weight gain, and morning sickness, but other symptoms can arise, like feeling depressed. After the baby arrives, women commonly fall into this category of depression called “baby blues”. Within the first two weeks, after the baby arrives, women experience mild mood changes and feelings of uncertainties, unhappiness, and exhaustion. These symptoms do not last long, it’s usually the first few weeks after the baby arrives, and once a new mother gets the hang of things, these feelings go away. But, if these feelings persist, women should seek health advice from specialists. It’s common for women to go through changes, especially before the baby comes.
Throughout pregnancy, women experience many changes, for example, mood swings or body changes. Prenatal depression often occurs for women months up to the birth of a child. Months leading to birth is when depression strikes. Women should discuss their symptoms with their primary care physician or gynecologist. Even with postpartum, it is best to consult with a team of experts when the symptoms progress or become unmanageable. Again, these symptoms could be extreme feelings of sadness, anxiety, and fatigue after giving birth. Once time progresses, women should feel more at ease and start to develop a healthy routine when it comes to nurturing the baby. When women get older, it never gets easier. Our bodies are changing, but many women can understand this change, known as menopause.
The older women get, the fewer hormones we produce. This transition happens to every woman, some earlier than others. Perimenopausal depression is a challenging time in a woman’s life. During perimenopause, women can experience a multitude of signs/ symptoms that include abnormal periods, problems sleeping, mood swings, and hot flashes. Yet again, these are not symptoms of depression.
Some of the signs/ symptom’s women are dealing with include irritability, anxiety, sadness, or loss of enjoyment. These symptoms can appear early on in life, and this phase is known as a transitional period called perimenopause.
There are options for women who are suffering from depression. Depression, commonly treated with medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. Women should seek expertise from their physicians to prescribe any form of antidepressant. Besides medication, there are a variety of psychotherapy options that include cognitive behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy. An important thing to remember is that depression affects every individual differently. It is up to the patient and the healthcare professionals to actively decide which route is beneficial for the patient. Ladies, your voice matters, and self-advocacy are of the utmost importance in the healthcare industry.
As an organization, Black Girl Health deems it necessary for women to make conscious and informative decisions about their physical and mental health by seeking advice from health care professionals that include either specialists or primary care physicians. There are many resources out there for women experiencing depression. Unfortunately, there’s not a cure, but coping mechanisms that make it possible for women to excel in difficult times.
Mental health awareness is important to our community, and BGH is thrilled to provide our audience with informative articles every week to shed light on health issues that persist in our community and fighting against the barriers when it comes to racial discrepancies in the healthcare field. Thanks to our partnership with two trusted and reliable health organizations Medline Plus and the National Library of Medicine, we can find and write about health topics that matter to African-American women.
If you would like to educate yourself on different mental health topics, then visit http://medlineplus.gov/ an online information service, produced by the National Library of Medicine where consumers can view the latest health articles and content. If you are a consumer interested in reading medical publications such as journals, dictionaries, or even blogs then go to https://www.nlm.nih.gov/ website of the National Library of Medicine.