Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety in Women

While both men and women can experience anxiety and depression, these mood disorders are far more common in women than in men. There are many factors that contribute to depression and anxiety in women, and the mix of genetic factors, biological makeup, hormonal factors, and life experiences that lead to the disorders is unique to each individual. Below you can read about a few disorders suffered disproportionately by women, along with some common symptoms.

Depression

Women are nearly twice as likely to suffer major depression than their male counterparts and are also more likely than men to suffer from seasonal affective disorder. This difference in depression incidence begins around age 10, peaks in adolescence, and lasts until after menopause. Women who are diagnosed with depression tend to report certain symptoms more often than depressed men. These include anxiety, panic, overeating, weight gain, somatic (physical) complaints, guilt, excessive sleeping, and decreased libido. Depressed women are also more likely to have comorbid psychiatric disorders, such as both depression and anxiety.

Panic Disorder and Phobias

Women with anxiety disorders tend to have more symptoms of panic and phobias than men. In fact, panic disorder and specific phobias are twice as common in women as in men. Panic disorder is characterized by sudden attacks of terror, accompanied by symptoms that can include a racing heart, sweating, dizziness, hot or cold flashes, chest pain, nausea, a sense of unreality, and a fear of impending doom.

PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is also more common in women than in men, and more women with PTSD have a history of sexual abuse. Symptoms of PTSD include startling easy, feeling emotionally numb, irritability, aggressiveness, and loss of interest in formerly enjoyable activities. Most people with PTSD experience flashbacks to the traumatic event either during the day or as nightmares.

GAD

Finally, women are also twice as likely to suffer from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), symptoms of which include excessive worry about everyday problems, difficulty concentrating, trouble falling or staying asleep, fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, irritability, nausea, trembling, and lightheadedness.

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