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The Role of Gender in Depression

Rawd Alach
Research Paper: Rough Draft

The Role of Gender in Depression

I. Introduction: Depression

• Depressive disorders affect approximately 18.8 million American adults or about 9.5% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.

• 15% of depressed people will commit suicide.

• 30% of women are depressed. Men’s figures were previously thought to be half that of women, but new estimates are higher
• Even famous people suffer from depression, Brooke Shields, Jim Carrey, Princess Diana, Van Gogh.

What is depression?

• “Depression is a psychological disorder characterized by long bouts of severe mood disturbance or excessive elation” (Downing-Orr 26).

• An illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts, that affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things.

• There should be a distinction between the “blues” and depression. Most obviously depression is severe episodes of unhappiness during which people re not able to find relief or comfort (Downing-Orr 30).

Types of Depressions

• Major Depression: most common forms
• Dysthymia: Many people just walk around seeming depressed - - simply sad, a condition that people are not even aware of but just live with daily. They go through life feeling unimportant, dissatisfied, frightened.
• Manic Depression: changing mood very quickly. Heavy form of depression People who suffer from manic depression have an extremely high rate of suicide.

“Surveys, hospital admissions, and statistics…all concur: adult women report more mental health problems than men, and are more likey to be diagnosed and treatef for madness.” JM Ussher. (Caplan 127).

Women vs. Men in Depression

In children depression is mostly the same until the age of 12. if the difference were to be noted it would show pre-pubertal boys as more depressed than pre- pubertal girls. However after the age of 12, females are twice as likely to be depressed then males. (Mazure 10)

Why are women more susceptible to depression?
What does gender have to do with depression?

Causes
Symptoms
Effects
Treatments

II. Causes

Reasons for the onset of Depression in women: (Belhar, NIMH)

• Genetic factors

• Biochemical factors brain biochemistry deregulation of certain brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters. hormones have mood-altering properties.

Women often develop depression based on event that effected their biological state, like after menstruation, after childbirth, at menopause (Downing-Orr 35).

• Social factors, gender roles a sense of having little control over life events, and a tendency to worry excessively Upbringing or sex role expectations … It appears that negative thinking patterns typically develop in childhood or adolescence Some experts have suggested that the traditional upbringing of girls might foster these traits and may be a factor in women’s higher rate of depression. That would be why at 12, puberty… roles get heavy.. depression rates go up in women.

• Roles of mother

Reasons for the onset of Depression in men:

• Gender roles: not being able to provide for the family
• Work stress
• Status factors
• Cultural factors
• Less physical and biological factors that make them have higher tolerance to depression.

III. Work effecting stress

Work Study, Job Strain Model

High job strain leads to mental health problems.

Study showed that women tended to have higher job strain then men. Placed in active jobs with low job control. Whereas men had high job control and low job strain. Men with high grade jobs non manual jobs, had more job strain and depressive symptoms then men in other types of jobs.

IV. Symptoms of Depression

Symptoms:

• Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood.
• Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism.
• Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness.
• Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities, including sex.
• Decreased energy, fatigue; feeling “slowed down.”
• Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions.
• Trouble sleeping, early morning awakening, or oversleeping.
• Changes in appetite and/or weight.
• Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts.
• Restlessness or irritability.
• Persistent physical symptoms, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain that do not respond to routine treatment.

Symptoms are the same in men and women however they deal with it differently.

The symptoms of depression are similar for both men and women, but they tend to be expressed differently.

The most common symptoms of depression include low self-esteem; suicidal thoughts; loss of interest in usually pleasurable activities; fatigue; changes in appetite; sleep disturbances; apathy; and sexual problems, including reduced sex drive.

Dealing with Depression:

Men are less to admit to depression.

Men are more likely to drink, be more active, get involved in something to relieve
stress, watch TV, get numb, violence, (after 12 boys got much more violent.. )

Women more likely to want to think things over, talk, express their feelings, etc.
Women try suicide more then men but men succeed more then women.

Therefore, that brings us to the question of whether or not women are generally more depressed then men or do men just not show or report their depression as often as women. ?

V. Treatment

In treating men and women for depression one must take into account biological gendered differences. Some drugs have been found to work on women and not on men. Gender differences in antidepressive agents. In a comparison antidepressive agents of sertraline (SSRI) and imipramine, it was found that women responded to SSRI more then men. And men vice versa. (Mazure 47).

VII. Conclusion

There are obvious differences between men and women in regards to depression.

Therefore several factors must be taken into consideration when dealing with depression in both men and women. Factors like genetics, social roles, gender roles, coping skills, etc. Depression can be fatal. It should be taken seriously and treated appropriately.

There seems to be no set solution for depression, not for men or women.

Therefore, the role of gender in depression should be taken into consideration when dealing with the disorder in a man or a woman.

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Work Stress, Mental Health and Antidepressant Medication

Rawd Alach

Summary of Article: “Work Stress, Mental Health and Antidepressant Medication Finding from the Health 200 Study”

During recent years, there has been increasing concern about the effects of work stress on mental health.

There is speculation that work with high job demands and low job control, leads to depression and anxiety disorders.

Several theories have come to light attempting to detail the effects of work stress on individuals.

One such theory is the Job Strain Model, also called the Demand-Control Model. This theory endorses the idea that high job demand and low job control, i.e., high job strain, leads to mental health problems. Read the rest of this entry »

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