How Mental Health Issues Affect Women
Though mental health issues can affect both men and women, there are differences in how the issues affect the different genders. Certain mental health issues affect women more prevalently, and women may also be affected in different ways than men.
One of the most noticeable differences concerns depression. Women are more likely to suffer from depression and be diagnosed with the illness than men. According to prevention.com, between 10 and 15 percent of women will experience depression at some point in their lives, which is twice the number of men. Reasons for the discrepancy include hormones and the significant biological shifts that women undergo during the lifetimes.
Women also experience depression differently than men. While men with depression often externalize their negative feelings by exhibiting anger, irritation and aggression, women often internalize their depression, leading to feelings of constant sadness and guilt.
Women also experience anxiety at higher rates than men. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, women are two times as likely to suffer from an anxiety disorder than men. The same goes for post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD; women are twice as likely to suffer from it than men. Some experts attribute the gap to the fact that women are more likely to experience sexual abuse and assault, which are triggers that can lead to PTSD.
Lastly, eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, are more common in women. The reason for this prevalence is society’s culture of pressuring women to fit into certain beauty standards, which includes the standard that women should have a thin body.
Though people of both genders can experience mental health issues, it is important to understand that women experience these issues at different rates and in different ways than men. Acknowledging the differences can help mental health providers to better diagnose and treat women, while also allowing women who experience mental health issues to better understand and recognize their conditions.