Why Are Women More Likely to Have Depression?

Why Are Women More Likely to Have Depression?

Depression is a mood disorder that predominantly affects women more than men. While this condition can impact every area of a woman’s life— especially physical, mental, social wellbeing—it’s important to know that this is not a rare illness. The National Mental Health Association states that about one in every ten women will experience symptoms of depression during their lifetime and are affected roughly twice the rate of men.  


National surveys have reported that 12{2997f8544d703ffd995cbf0748d9148f9150b33c2eb54c93a5197645ffc3f066} of all women across the nation will experience symptoms of depression at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, these symptoms can make some women feel as though relationships, work, education, and additional parts of life seem less important. 


Prior to understanding depression in women, it’s important to understand the symptoms related to the condition. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), some of the signs and symptoms of depression to look out for include:  


  •         Fatigue
  •         Loss of interest in activities
  •         Feelings of hopelessness and despair
  •         Feelings of anxiety, stress, agitation or restlessness
  •         Feelings of guilt
  •         Thoughts of harming yourself or others
  •         Thoughts of death or suicide
  •         Insomnia (difficulty sleeping) or sleeping too much


Contributing factors such as developmental, reproductive, hormonal, genetic, and biological conditions can all play a huge role with depression in women. Although the reasons for the gender differences are not completely clear and supported, it’s believed that women get depressed simply because they are seen to be more sensitive. However, this accusation is generally exaggerated and not supported by research. Studies have shown that many of the contributing factors are valid when observing women who are battling depression. Additionally, depression in women exists because of a combination of biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors. 


Certain types of depression are unique to women. Experts believe that a woman’s increased chance of developing depression may be related to the dramatic hormonal changes that occur throughout her life. These changes are associated with pregnancy, the postpartum period, perimenopause, and menstruation. Depressive symptoms are also present during childbirth and menopause and intensely interfere with the normal functioning of daily life.  


Hormonal changes alone don’t cause depression. Sociocultural factors like stress from work, family responsibilities, roles and expectations of women, and increased rates of sexual abuse and poverty can also lead to higher rates of clinical depression. Socially, women tend to be more involved in personal relationships than men and suffer more when they do not succeed.  


Women are also more likely to consult with a doctor about their symptoms if they are not feeling well or notice signs of depression. Fortunately, this means they are more likely to receive an adequate diagnosis and pursue treatment. Additional evidence supports that male and female physicians are more likely to diagnose women with depression than men who experience similar symptoms.    


Besides the fact that women suffer from depression more often than men, studies have shown that this gender gap exists only after puberty and before menopause. Since girls typically reach puberty before boys do, they’re more likely to develop depression at a much younger age.  


Depression is a serious medical condition that requires prompt attention and treatment at the start of symptoms. The good news is that there are many ways to treat women with depression including medications and psychotherapy. Women who have complications from depression medications and do not respond well to therapy can turn to TMS treatment for a drug-free alternative. For more information on the different types of depression treatment, visit the NIMH website 


TMS Neuro Institute is one of the earliest adopters in using transcranial magnetic stimulation to treat depression in Los Angeles. To schedule a consultation, call 888.823.4867 or book an appointment online here.