What is depression?
Depression is a psychopathological phenomenon that affects both men and women but middle-age women have the highest rate of depression among all the others ages and genre groups, according to a US survey.
Regardless of the causes that triggered the depression, its symptoms are often the same. The interest in things, otherwise enjoyable before, decreases and the pleasure of living or working ceases to exist.
The negative energy gives rise to acute feelings of sadness, pessimism, discouragement, fear, self-incrimination, remorse, and sadness. People affected by depression have low concentration, and present nervousness, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and fatigue.
Recent scientific studies have shown that women are twice more prone than men to develop stress-related illnesses but at the same time, they recover more easily.
The predisposition of women to such ailments is due to the female genetic material, hormonal balance, family status, society status, and to the various chemical reactions that occur in their brain.
A new study led by a team of researchers from the University of Warwick, in the UK, and from the Dartmouth College of the United States, demonstrates that depression is not a specific phenomenon only in the western parts of the globe, but it affects people all over the world, regardless of their geographic location . The study’s findings were drawn after a 35-years period, during which more than two million people from different parts of the globe were questioned.
Indeed, depression in middle-aged women is a universal phenomenon but it does not last a lifetime.
Researchers believe that over a lifetime there are certain “periods of happiness”, meaning that the age we have is indissolubly linked to our sense of gratitude. Regardless of the degree of culture or living standard of the country where we live in, periods are the same for all people. We are happier when we are between 20 and 30 years old, between 30 and 40 years old, and over 50 years old.
According to this research, people who feel the most unhappy are those aged between 40 and 50. The age of 45 seems to be the most critical, and in this period it is more likely than ever to fall prey to the depression.
Causes of depression in middle-aged women
Women already have a doubled risk of experience depression, in comparison to men, but middle-age increases this risk even more.
Causes of depression in women are multiple and include biological, psychological, and social factors.
- Premenstrual disorders – hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle can cause symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, which include bloating, irritability, fatigue, and emotional reactivity. For many women, premenstrual syndrome does not show severe manifestations. For others, however, the symptoms are strong enough to disturb their everyday lives.
- Pregnancy and infertility – during pregnancy there are major hormonal changes that can contribute to depression, especially in women who are already at increased risk of depression. Other pregnancy-related issues such as unwanted abortion and infertility can also play a role in depression. Infertility and high-risk pregnancies are common in middle-age women.
- Postpartum depression – most women experience mild depression that occurs immediately after pregnancy. This is a normal reaction that tends to disappear within a few weeks. However, some women may experience severe and long lasting postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is thought to be triggered by hormonal fluctuations. Since the new trend in women is to give birth between 35 and 45 years old, middle-age women expose themselves to the postpartum depression more than the young mothers.
- Perimenopause and menopause – women may have an increased risk of depression during perimenopause when the level of reproductive hormones decreases. Women who have had episodes of depression in their youth have a higher risk of depression during menopause. The perimenopause occurs between 40 and 50 years of age.
The stress – some studies show that women are at a higher risk of suffering depression when experiencing stressful situations. In addition, compared to men’s, the physiological response to stress in women is different. They produce more stress hormones than men, and female sex hormone (progesterone) prevents the natural elimination of the stress hormones. Middle-aged women are more prone to stressful situations, so more prone to depression.
Appearance – as in the puberty, when some girls may get frustrated by the physical changes that take place during their sexual development, so can happen with the middle-age women, only that on the opposite direction. Middle-age women approach the menopause and as they age, their body reflects the negative effects of the aging itself. This can be a cause for depression.
Treating the depression at home
You can significantly improve the symptoms of the depression by simply changing your lifestyle by:
- regular exercising
- avoiding family or friends isolation
- having a healthy diet
Make sure you have time to rest and relax. You will notice that your mood will improve but to do so it takes time. Besides, you have to ask the help of the close ones.
When you feel that the symptoms of depression are getting stronger you need to:
- Talk to someone you trust about your feelings
- Try to get involved in social activities even if you do not feel the need to do it
- Walk – 30 minutes of daily walks can give you a positive psychological boost
- Rest for at least 8 hours per night
- Practice relaxation techniques – try yoga, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation.
- Take medicines, vitamins, and minerals. Talk to your doctor before using any form of drugs.
Middle-age women have highest rate of depression has been also proven by a study conducted in the US by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The study collected the data between the years of 2009 and 2012 and concluded that in the middle-age women group the incidence of depression is 13%, the highest rate among all the age groups that have been studied. More specifically, 1 out of 8 middle-aged women develops depression.
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