Depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States and it affects women twice as often as men. In fact, 12 million women in the United States report having depression every year. And those are just the ones who actually report it. Many women go undiagnosed due to fear, stigma, lack of information, and just because they are too depressed to do anything. One of the worst problems with depression is its ability to suck the strength and motivation right out of you. So, even if you do realize there is something wrong, you just do not have the energy or motivation to do anything about it.
Women Versus Men
So, why does depression choose to pick on women more often than men? That is an excellent question that the experts seem to disagree on. As a matter of fact, many experts will just tell you that they do not know why. However, one common link is the hormonal effect. We all know that women have different hormones than men. We are primarily fueled by estrogen and progesterone while men are filled with testosterone. Those same hormones that cause the moodiness and bloating of pre-menstrual syndrome can contribute to the woman’s increased susceptibility to depression. Our hormones tend to go a little wild at least once a month, causing both biological and emotional imbalances. And if that was not bad enough, depression can also make you feel and look older!
Feeling and Looking Older
Yes, it is true, untreated depression can make you older. Not just feeling and looking older, but actually causes a biological change in your blood cells that makes your body age. A study published by Molecular Psychiatry found that there are visible differences in cell aging were found in people with depression. Basically, it speeds up the aging process. Apparently, untreated depression causes our telomeres to shorten, which is how age is determined in DNA. Telomeres are the caps on the end of our DNA chromosomes that are supposed to stop the loss of our genetic code.
Age and Depression
Now we know that depression actually makes our bodies older from the inside, but what about the outside? Well, if your body ages faster than it should, you are going to feel worse. You may feel more fatigue, exhaustion, and yes, depression. So, it is a vicious circle, depression makes you older and being older can make you feel more depressed. The whole point here is that these changes are from untreated depression. If you get treatment for your depression, you can stop those problems as quickly as they start. You may benefit from therapy, medication, or both. But, no matter what you choose, it is important that you talk to someone professional about your depression. Some of the signs of depression are:
- Feeling depressed or down for longer than two weeks
- Losing interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Isolating yourself from family and friends
- Lack of energy
- Changes in sleep (sleeping less or more than often, not being able to fall asleep or stay asleep)
- Appetite changes (loss of appetite or eating more)
- Weight loss or gain
- Vague aches and pains
- Bouts of crying for no reason
- Unable to make decisions or concentrate
- Feeling hopeless or worthless
- Thoughts of harming someone else or yourself
Talk to Someone
If you have any of the above symptoms or feel sad longer than a few weeks for no real reason, you should talk to someone. Even if you do not feel like going anywhere or talking to anyone, you can get help. You can get free counseling online without an appointment and you do not even have to leave the house.
About the author: Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.