Depression in Men and Women: The Differences


Though the list of symptoms for depression is the same for both sexes, there are differences in the way men and women experience depression.

The most well-known difference is that women have twice the risk of developing depression as men. Knowing the other depression differences between men and women may help us recognize depressive conditions in our self and others.

Men, Women, and Depression

These male-female differences in the experience of depression reflect statistical tendencies.

  1. Males, especially adolescents, are more likely to self medicate with drugs or alcohol before the onset of depression. Women tend to abuse substances after developing depression or as symptoms increase. Men more often attempt to hide a low mood or sadness with risky behaviors, TV, long work hours, video games, and may express sadness as irritability or anger.
  2. Men tend to distract themselves with activity when feeling low. Women are more likely to ruminate, or dwell on their negative thoughts and feelings. Rumination only serves to make people feel worse; it is like trying to think your way out of a box.
  3. Although women are more vulnerable to depression than men, the symptoms of depression are more often missed in males. Many men develop severe depression before health care professionals notice their symptoms.
  4. Women are more likely than men to have depression triggered by a stressful event (e.g., relationship problems, job loss). This may be owed to the mix and flux of female stress and reproductive hormones, plus mood-influencing neurotransmitters.
  5. Men and women seem to respond differently to antidepressants. Not much research has been done on this yet, but scientists think that male and female bodies metabolize and absorb antidepressants differently.
  6. Women have depression with a coexisting eating disorder, such bulimia or anorexia, more often than men. They also have a higher occurrence of anxiety disorders with depression (e.g., panic, OCD).
  7. When depressed, men are more likely than women to commit suicide. This may be because men often go longer before being diagnosed. Men also tend to be more successful in their suicide attempts than women.

Source: Live Science
Photo credit: FaceMePLS (at flickr)


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