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Common Signs of Depression in Women

Updated on January 2, 2013

Several types of clinical depression can strike otherwise healthy women at different stages of their lives. Recognizing the signs of depression in women can alert the individual or friends and family to the possibility of clinical depression. Depression is a medical condition that can be effectively treated with medication and therapy. As soon as the signs of depression in women are noticed, she should get professional treatment from a doctor or psychiatrist to prevent further suffering.

Depression is often dismissed as emotional problems or fatigue. If a woman is experiencing certain symptoms of depression, she should consult a doctor to determine the cause of the symptoms and get a proper diagnoses. Some of the common symptoms of depression in women include:


loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy


feelings of hopelessness or helplessness

thoughts of death or suicide

homicidal thoughts

difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than usual

changes in appetite and sex drive


headaches or other physical aches or pains that don't seem to go away with treatment

These symptoms of depression in women may occur at any time in her adulthood. Some women avoid getting treatment, because they feel that they should be able to improve on their own. Well-meaning friends and family members may tell her to "snap out of it" or otherwise fix it herself. This is misguided advice since depression is a physical ailment. No one can simply stop having depression or will it away any more than a person can do that with diabetes or cancer. Therefore, the woman should go see a doctor and describe the specific symptoms she is experiencing.

Depression in Late Adolescence

Men and women can develop symptoms of depression in their late teen years and early adulthood. In many cases, a woman who begins to have signs of depression in late adolescence has a family history of depression. Depression can be hereditary like other illnesses. If a young adult starts having symptoms of depression in women, the friends and family should offer support and encouragement. It may be appropriate for friends and family to suggest treatment if the young woman is reluctant to seek help.

Postpartum Depression

When asked, many people can recall a story in the news about a woman killing her baby and other children. Depression after the birth of a child can become so severe that it causes the woman to have distorted thoughts. The woman may feel so much emotional pain that she believes that killing her children is saving them from the pain of life.

Women who experience depression symptoms after giving birth should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Because of the usual lack of sleep in early motherhood, the symptoms may be masked by normal tiredness and stress of caring for a new baby. However, it's better to be safe and discuss any symptoms with a doctor rather than to ignore them and risk developing severe postpartum depression.

Depression and Menopause

Women may develop symptoms of depression during menopause. The body is undergoing tremendous changes in hormones. Women also may be experiencing life changes as their children grow up and move on with their lives. These physical and lifestyle changes can increase the stress and lead to bouts of clinical depression. The depression during these adjustments can be treated with medication and therapy.

The earlier the signs of depression in women are recognized and the woman gets treatment, the better the prognosis. Women with depression can lead fully productive lives when they receive proper care. Please don't let depression rob you of your potential.


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