Learning what you can about depression is always a smart idea but it may be even more important for women.
From North American Press Syndicte Report By Staff Writer , 05/21/2008
Learning what you can about depression is always a smart idea, but it may be even more important for women.
Statistics show that women are twice as likely as men to be affected by depression, regardless of race or ethnic background. As many as one in eight women will experience depression.
“Nearly 18 million Americans experience depression every year,” said Ken Duckworth, M.D., medical director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). “The good news is that with a correct diagnosis, most people can be treated effectively. The bad news is that two-thirds of all people living with depression don't get the help they need.”
Some experiences related to depression are unique to women, including postpartum changes, infertility and hormonal fluctuations throughout the course of life.
To help women find the resources they need, NAMI has created a brochure, “Women and Depression.”
“Information in the brochure will help women to help themselves-as well as other women,” said Duckworth. “All family members will benefit by using it as a reference.”
Major depression is a medical illness that affects a person's mind, mood, body and behavior. It is more than “feeling down” because of a recent loss or the result of family, work or financial stresses; it occurs when these feelings become more intense and persist to the point that they affect daily functioning.
Middle-aged Hispanic women have the highest rate of depressive symptoms, followed by middle-aged African-American women.
Young Asian-American women have the highest rate of younger groups and the second-highest rate of suicide among 15- to 24- year-olds. American Indians and Alaska Native adolescents are most likely to attempt suicide and die from it.
The 13-page brochure highlights symptoms, causes, women of color, life stages and treatment, with additional sections on seeking professional help, self-help, preventing recurrent depression and helping other women.
The brochure's publication was supported by an educational grant from Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.