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Women and Mental Health

Read the original article HERE.

Overview

Mental disorders can affect women and men differently. Some disorders are more common in women such as depression and anxiety. There are also certain types of depression that are unique to women. Some women may experience symptoms of mental disorders at times of hormone change, such as perinatal depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and perimenopause-related depression. When it comes to other mental disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, research has not found differences in rates that men and women experiences these illnesses. But, women may experience these illnesses differently – certain symptoms may be more common in women than in men, and the course of the illness can be affected by the sex of the individual. Researchers are only now beginning to tease apart the various biological and psychosocial factors that may impact the mental health of both women and men.

Warning Signs

Women and men can develop most of the same mental disorders and conditions, but may experience different symptoms. Some symptoms include:

  • Persistent sadness or feelings of hopelessness
  • Abuse of alcohol and/or drugs
  • Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Appetite and/or weight changes
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Excessive fear or worry
  • Seeing or hearing things that are not there
  • Extremely high and low moods
  • Aches, headaches, or digestive problems without a clear cause
  • Irritability
  • Social withdrawal
  • Thoughts of suicide

Mental disorders can be treated: If you are unsure where to go for help, ask your family doctor or visit NIMH’s Help for Mental Illness webpage. Asking questions and providing information to your doctor and other providers can improve your care. Talking with your doctor builds trust and leads to better results, quality, safety, and satisfaction. Visit the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website for tips at www.ahrq.gov/patients-consumers/.