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Types of Mental Health Disorders in Women

Updated on April 7, 2015
Common Health Disorders in Women include Depression, Anxiety and Phobias, Post-tramatic Stress, Suicide, and Eating Disorders. Mental illnesses affect women and men differently.
Common Health Disorders in Women include Depression, Anxiety and Phobias, Post-tramatic Stress, Suicide, and Eating Disorders. Mental illnesses affect women and men differently. | Source

Women and Mental Health Disorders

Certain mental health disorders are more prevalent in women than in men.

The Five Most Common Health Disorders in Women

  • Depression
  • Anxiety and Phobias
  • Post-tramatic Stress
  • Suicide
  • Eating Disorders

Why are Women Different?

  • Hormones: Female hormones can affect mood. Women also tend to produce less serotonin, which can lead to depression
  • Culture, Roles and Society: Although many men are now helping with childcare women are commonly still the primary care givers. Women are the most common gender to provide assistance and care of aging parents. Also, women are the more common victims of sexual harassment and abuse.


Depression is considered a mental illness

Fact: Women are twice as likely as men to get depression.

Symptoms of depression:

  • withdrawn
  • distraught
  • fatigue
  • restlessness
  • loss of hope or urgency

Women who suffer from depression usually have a hard time focusing and concentrating with daily activities. Depression carries a high risk of suicide.

Treatment: There is treatment for depression. A doctor will usually prescribe antidepressants and possibly therapy to discuss thoughts and issues.

Prevention: There are ways to help keep depression away. Staying busy and moving around is very important. Here are a few suggestions for feeling well.

  • healthy diet
  • exercise
  • socialize with friendly and positive people

GABA for Anxiety

GABA: Gamma Aminobutyric Acid and Anxiety

What is GABA and why is it important? Identifies natural food sources for inducing GABA. Aids in reducing anxiety, maintaining muscle tone, improves sleep and mood.

Anxiety, Panic and Phobias

Fact: Women are twice as likely as men to have panic disorder, anxiety, and specific phobias.

  • A recent study shows women have a greater fear of dentists during their forties than any other age group.

Phobias can be a fear of an action, object, animal, insect or types of people. A traumatic event can cause a phobia to surface.

Treatment: Phobias can sometimes be treated with medication. Medication can help calm anxiety associated with a phobia.

Mental Health and Post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD)

Fact: Women are twice as likely to develop Post-traumatic stress disorder following a traumatic event.

When someone suffers from PTSD they fear for their lives or those of others. They have usually experienced a traumatic event. A traumatic event is perceived as life-threatening and stressful.

The symptoms of PTSG can be highly stressful and emotional.

  • vividly visualizing dangerous events
  • overreacting to daily sounds i.e. screeching tires or a backfire
  • avoiding events that are noisy
  • withdrawal of emotions as a way to protect themselves

Women and Attempted Suicide

Fact: Women attempt suicide two or three times more often than men.

Recent studies show a spike in suicide attempts by women between the ages of 40 - 69

Anybody who expresses suicidal thoughts or intentions should be taken very, very seriously. Do not hesitate to call your local suicide hotline immediately. Call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) -- or the deaf hotline at 1-800-4889

Women and Eating Disorders

Fact: 85 percent of all anorexia and bulimia cases are women

Eating disorders are commonly related to a distorted body image.

Anorexia: The consumption of food is very limited and may contain odd rituals. For example, the affected person might not let the fork or spoon touch their lips. Anorexia not only affects the body it also affects the mind.

Bulimia: The characteristics of bulimia are binging and purging of food. Bulimia can also bring about purging through excessive exercise and the abuse of laxatives.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this hub should not be construed as personal medical advice or instruction.

© 2012 Marisa Hammond Olivares


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    • jponiato profile image

      jponiato 3 years ago from Mid-Michigan

      Great hub, very informative. Know also that phobias can sometimes be treated behaviorally with de-sensitizing exercises.

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 4 years ago from Texas

      never been married, thank you for sending this info along. Life can be tough and mental health can certainly be challenged. I am glad you found this to be a good read. All my best to you and your friend.

    • never ben married profile image

      never ben married 5 years ago

      You took the words right out of my mouth...very good read. Sadly, I know some woman who might benefit from reading this. I'll send her to your page.

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      kelleyward, it sure does, doesn't it? Thanks for the votes and shares.

      meloncauli, thanks, I think you may be right about how different genders approach this.

      cclitgirl, good for you! I think you are on to something and on the right track.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      Hehe, I was talking to my mom about how I don't like to feel stressed out all the time like so many people I know in our society - it seems like everyone you meet is stressed. I have taken measures to be less stressed. :) Thank you for this great hub!

    • meloncauli profile image

      meloncauli 5 years ago from UK

      Good hub. Note how all these disorders have an emotional basis? Men may be suffering much more silently than women as they are generally conditioned not to show too much emotion.

    • profile image

      kelleyward 5 years ago

      What a useful hub. It seems like so many people suffer from mental health issues today so much that it interferes with their daily life. Thanks for sharing this. Voted up and useful. and shared. Kelley

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      Sharyn's Slant, You know what? I have to agree with you. I know someone for each of these common disorders too. It is scary and definitely sad that many suffer from these various issues. Yes, knowing that there is in fact treatment out there and that services are available is a very important fact. Thank you for stopping by Sharon and thank you for reading and commenting. Your link is very important and informative - glad to share it.

      angel_michelle, Isn't it amazing that women are more susceptible? Yet, I am somehow not surprised. You may be right, women are more vocal. I can't help but wonder how many women AND men do not share their diagnosis. It is a private issue but I think many would be surprised to know how many share these issues. Thank you for reading and sharing your comment with us.

      Peace and good health to all

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle Schultz 5 years ago from United States

      I didn't realize the prevalance of women's mental disorders were so much more than of men. Or maybe women are more willing to admit it, and seek help; therefore, there is more records of women with mental disorder.

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      In one way or another, either myself or someone close to me, every one of these issues has affected me. Kinda scary! But there is treatment and ways to cope thank goodness. Thanks for bringing these mental health issues to the forefront in a clear and concise way to help all women out there. And thanks for the link too!


    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      barbergirl28, I'm so sorry to hear you have suffered from any type of mental stress or issues. Life is so tough. Many times I look back at what I have been through and take a big sigh of relief that I've made it thus far. Exercise is a great way to get those 'feel good' endorphins moving in our body. Stay sweet, stand tall and stay healthy! Love ya!

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      I have so many mental health issues I could probably write a book on them. I have to say for the most part, depression is the biggest of these issues, especially around this time of year. I used to be on medication but in a temporary mood of insanity I took too many and had to get my stomach pumped. Yeah ... I stay away from the pills now and change my mood with exercise. Great hub with lots of great information here!

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      Jamie Brock, depression is becoming more common and I think more women are opening up about the issues they face. I do hope you are feeling wonderful and that you have been able to keep the symptoms of depression and anxiety at bay. Thank you for sharing, reading and voting.

    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas

      I enjoyed reading this hub.. it is very informative. I have suffered with depression with a good part of my life. It's actually a chronic, low grade depression called Dysthymia. I have had bouts of anxiety but only during very stressful times, and only had to be medicated for it once. Voting up for a great hub :)

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      Aevans - Hi Julianna, yes, there is quite a bit of info for each of the disorders I identified. Thank you so much for commenting and reading, I greatly appreciate it.

      Nell Rose - Hi Nell, I'm so sorry to hear you have had issues with post traumatic stress as well as panic attacks. You are one tough cookie and I can totally understand how you handled this on your own. Please consider seeing the therapist if needed and always be true to yourself. I'm grateful you have stopped by to read and share your experience. Wishing you all the best!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Hi missolive, this is all so true. Especially the bit about post traumatic stress. I had a really bad shock back in the 90s, and I believe that I had a mini breakdown. Being so stubborn I got through it myself, but I likened it to a car crash. Once you have been so mentally hurt it stays with you. even though the mental 'bones' have healed the pain is always there. I have had panic attacks ever since. luckily enough my stubborn side managed to get rid of the ocd, but occasionally when I get stressed again it starts to come back. a friend of mine is in fact going to see a therapist next week for a similar thing, and maybe I should too, even though it's a long time ago, very well researched and thanks, nell

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 5 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      Interesting and very complex. This could be four or five different hubs; but you researched it well and highlighted parts of mental issues within women. Great read! :)

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      breathing - yes, this is a complex topic and each disorder is deserving of more content with respective hubs. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

    • breathing profile image

      Sajib 5 years ago from Bangladesh

      I think it was a complex topic to write but you did well. I am totally agree with you. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      Victoria Lyn - Hi Vicki, Thank you very much. I'm sorry to hear you have had panic attacks. I hub they have subsided. I appreciated the votes. :)

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Nice hub, MissO! Well presented. I've had panic attacks, too. They're freaky. Glad you put this information out there. Voted up, of course!

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      sholland10, Susan, your response is oh so true. We do think we are invincible at times. Thank you for the votes and shares

      nybrise710, thank you for sharing your experience and opinion. The scary thing about depression is that many think one can 'just shake it off' and we can't. I'm glad you have found an antidepressant that works for you and your daughter.

      tammyswallow, I had heard of trypophobia but I have never met anyone affected by it. You should write a hub about it and help spread awareness. Let me know if you do. Thank you for reading and sharing your experience with us.

      cclitgirl, yes, I think the rat race gets to all of us at some point. Sometimes I just feel like selling everything and streamlining my life. I fantasize of being that author with a little cottage by the sea. :) Thank you for reading and commenting.

      Pamela99, Panic attacks do sound awful. I've come across several people that have experienced panic attacks. One of my sister in laws' suffers from sudden panic attacks in public places.

      Iamaudraleigh, Hi Audra, I'm sure you are not alone. I hope you are happy and healthy though. Peace

    • profile image

      iamaudraleigh 5 years ago

      I can relate to your hub. I have several diagnosis that make my case complicated. Thank you for putting this info out there.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

      This is a great hub on women's mental health disorders, so well explained. When I was much younger I had a couple of panic attacks and they feel awful. I think your information will really help people that still suffer.

      I also love the layout of your page. It is very attractive. Voted up and useful.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      What a great resource. I think this data you present here is spot on. I even feel that as I get older, I want to be out in the "big world" less and less - I love the comforts of home. :) In any case, this is a fabulous hub!

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      This is a great hub and it is good that more people are talking about these issues openly. I (along with my two brothers) have a severe phobia that is very difficult to deal with because it causes me to have instant panic attacks and hives. It is trypophobia- the fear of holes. I rarely tell people about this because they either think it is very funny or they say, what happens when you look at this and show me a dreaded lotus pod. There is no treatment or medication for this. I just avoid things like potpourri, colanders, and other hideous sites. This is a very valuable hub for all.

    • nybride710 profile image

      Lisa Kroulik 5 years ago from Minnesota

      Both my teenage daughter and I have suffered with severe depression when life's circumstances seemed to be good. It is amazing what getting on a good anti-depressant medication did for both of us. I have no patience for people who take a "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" attitude toward mental health issues when so much help is available.

    • sholland10 profile image

      Susan Holland 5 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      So true. Women take on so much, and we just take for granted we can do it all then depression or anxiety sneaks up and grabs us by the throat. It is difficult to know our limits. Chemicals and hormones do terrible things sometimes. A great awareness hub! Votes and shares!

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      Gypsy Rose Lee, thank you for your votes and comment. I'm sure living in NY was stressful. I can somewhat relate to that. I used to travel to NYC once a year. Although I love the city I did experience quite a bit of anxiety after 9/11.

      meloncauli, I could not agree with you more. You've made a very good point. Thank you.

      ALUR, thank you very much for sharing your experience and for your invitation. I look forward to reading your hubs, thank you. Continued best wishes to you.

      cloverleaffarm, great point but I think I'd still want to come back as a woman. :)

      Ruchira, strong souls indeed. I appreciate your lovely comment and votes, thank you

      teaches12345, I'm sorry to hear about your friends and their struggles. They are lucky to have you as a friend. My best to all of you.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I have a couple of friends who are experiencing anxiety disorders at the moment. It is one that is being treated with different medications at the moment. Thanks for posting this hub topic. I know it will help many women to seek the help they need.

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      great information missolive.

      women sure are strong souls and you proved it via this informative hub...voted up !!

    • cloverleaffarm profile image

      Healing Herbalist 5 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

      Great info. I think in my next life I want to be a man. It doesn't seem fair that we have to suffer. Up +

    • ALUR profile image

      ALUR 5 years ago from USA

      good, informative and as a living tetament to the anxiety and depression passed on by cursed genetics, I can tell you it's not only true but a daily struggle.

      I nurse myself with my writing and meds that are essential to keep depression at bay, though I have dabbled in natural rememdy, they've done little.

      You're welcome to visit my hubs to see all aspects of my life:)

    • meloncauli profile image

      meloncauli 5 years ago from UK

      Good hub. I think women on the whole tend to be more emotional than men and that makes them more vulnerable. I also think females tend to be more questioning in an emotional sense than men. Men tend to be more black and white. Interesting hub.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up and interesting. Thanks for this very informative hub. I can relate as when I still lived in New York I experienced a period of very frightening anxiety attacks. Passing this on.