The symptoms and the treatment of Depression in Women
Depression is a disorder that is manifesting through characteristic symptoms.
Depression is not a manifestation of the character’s weakness. This is a serious disease that is accompanied by violations of mental and even physical (sleep, appetite, weight, etc.) human functions. Loss or degradation of qualities is one of the symptoms of depressive illness. Therefore, you should not advise a person suffering from depression, “get yourself together”-he cannot overcome the illness without health care. Depression significantly affects the education, health, social life, relationships with others, including loved ones.
Prevalence of depression among women
Doctors know that women suffer from depression more often than men. This fact is confirmed by the results of numerous large epidemiological studies in different countries. The frequency of depression in women is 2-3 times higher than in men. Female gender in modern medicine is among the factors predisposing to the development of depression.
Why women have predisposition to depression?
Depression in women is largely linked to hormonal changes that occur in the female body during childbearing years. The so-called reproductive (childbearing) cycle has a series of stages, beginning with the introduction of the period and ending with his disappearance: menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, premenopausal and menopausal period. At each of these stages in the composition and quantity of hormones there are major changes, which are accompanied by physiological changes of all functions of the female body, including the psychic. Therefore, these changes in hormonal background are associated with increased risk of depression.
Symptoms of depression in women
As mentioned earlier, the risk of depression in women increases at each stage of the reproductive cycle. In clinical medicine there are different variants (syndromes) of depression specific to each of the stages of the reproductive cycle, premenstrual syndrome, the depressive syndrome of “sadness at childbirth, postpartum depression and depression in the premenopausal and menopausal periods.
The symptoms of depression in women may be different. Depression could manifest as depressive mood, hopelessness and apathy and increased irritability, anxiety, a sense of inner tension. The change of mood is usually accompanied by a decline in activity, the feeling of loss of energy, increased fatigue, and scattering of attention. Depression in women is often accompanied by a variety of somatic disorders: changes of sleep (insomnia or excessive sleepiness), appetite (decreased or increased appetite). There may be unpleasant feelings and sense of pain in the milk glands, headaches, pain in joints and muscles, heart pain and recurrent sensations of palpitations, weakness in the body, blood pressure fluctuations, etc.
The duration of depression in women linked to the reproductive cycle may be different. Premenstrual stress syndrome is usually short-term, approximately 2 weeks (1 week before and 1 week after menstruation) but has a recurrent character because of the monthly menstrual cycle peaking. The postpartum depression and climacteric depression may be more prolonged and continue for several weeks and even months.
The treatment of depression in women
Depression is a curable disease. With the properly selected drug and dose you may completely get rid of the depressive symptoms.
The depression treatment is carried out only by means of special medicines called antidepressants.
Only the doctor must prescribe the treatment for depression. Remember that each individual’s depression has its own peculiarities, associated with both the degree of severity of the disease and its clinical manifestations. Choosing the means of treatment in each individual case requires the assessment of many features of the patient’s condition. Only a doctor can correctly identify, assess and characterize such features. In no case you should have recourse to the advice of loved ones or friends to choose a treatment independently, on the basis that the drug helped someone, whom you know.
This rule must be followed, especially if the change of mood is accompanied by pronounced changes in your general health, bodily functions and pain disorders, which is more common in depression linked to the reproductive cycle. In such cases, only a physician can properly assess the nature of symptoms, determine the real condition of internal organs and choose the medication that will be not only effective, but also safe. Categorically it is not recommended to take antidepressants during pregnancy and lactation.
Today there are a large number of antidepressants. All modern drugs of this class are effective and safe medications. But each drug has its own distinctive features associated with both medical action and ways of its reception, dosing.
Depression treatment takes time. You should not wait for a full recovery in the first days of taking the drug. It is necessary to remember that all modern antidepressants have an effect on depression no earlier than 1 -2 weeks after starting treatment.
The cancellation of an anti-depressant should be carried out only by a doctor. Even after the complete disappearance of the symptoms of depression the reception of the antidepressant should be continued over a period of time. This is because the risk of exacerbation of depression in case of premature cancellation of the therapy is very high – up to 60-80%. Moreover, the worsening of depression associated with premature cessation of treatment is usually harder to care. The duration of such additional period of treatment aimed at prophylaxis of exacerbation, is defined only by the doctor based on the individual characteristics of each patient.
Remember that even if you choose to stop treatment prior to the period for which the physician has determined it is necessary to consult with him.