Studies show that women are twice as likely as men to suffer from mental illness such as depression and anxiety.
Here are a few reasons that are believed to create this gender disparity.
Hormones: Women experience a lot more hormonal fluctuations than men. These fluctuations are linked to symptoms of depression and happen at various stages of a woman’s life such as puberty and menopause. The hormonal changes that occur during menstruation are also a cause of mood alterations similar to those in depression.
Genes: Based on studies of identical and fraternal twins, it has been found that women have a stronger genetic predisposition for depression. There are certain genetic mutations that are specific to women, which are associated with the development of depression.
Environmental factors: Social and environmental factors also play a significant role in the gender bias. Women are more likely to suffer from stressful life-events such as child sexual abuse, domestic violence or sexual abuse in adulthood. Studies have shown that women are more likely to get depressed in response to a stressful event. Women are also more likely to become full-time caregivers to either young children or aging parents. Even though this may not cause high amounts of stress, the chronic nature of the stress can cause women to be predisposed to depression.
Other environmental factors that can lead to symptoms of depression are poverty, single parenting, struggling to juggle job and family responsibilities, to name a few.
Diagnosis: It is also perceived that women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression, leading to the gender gap. This is partly also because men are less likely to share emotional issues or seek help for mood problems. Violent behavior and alcoholism are also factors that disguise depression in men.
Physical health: Women are prone to hypothyroidism which is associated with depression. Lower levels of physical activity also contribute to the symptoms of depression.