Printer Friendly
The Free Library
23,403,340 articles and books


Depression; Facts to Know.

Depression afflicts more than 12 million American women each year and strikes women two to three times as often as men. Biological differences in women, such as hormonal changes and genetic factors, may contribute to higher rates of depression. Stress experienced by women from work- and family-related responsibilities, poverty or abuse may also play a role. After one episode of depression, a woman has a 50 percent chance that depression will recur at some point in her life.

Depression is not something you can just "get over." It is a complex medical condition. Depression is thought to be triggered by low levels of certain brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Serotonin, one example of a neurotransmitter, has been identified as a major player in depression and other mental illnesses.

Prolonged stress, loss, substance abuse, some medications and certain illnesses can trigger depression in people who are susceptible to it. Depression also can occur spontaneously, without any apparent trigger.

Antidepressant medications can greatly relieve symptoms for most people who suffer from depression. Newer medications with fewer side effects have been developed in the last decade, offering more options for people with this illness.

Depression is likely to show up in more than one family member or generation.

Depression often strikes between the ages of 25 and 44; teenagers may also develop depression. It can last for weeks, months, years or a lifetime, if not diagnosed and treated. Anyone, regardless of income, education or status can suffer from this disease.

Depression often gets translated into physical complaints. It can be mistaken for other illnesses by both a health care professional and the patient herself, instead of being properly recognized and diagnosed.

About 15 percent of people suffering from severe depression will commit suicide. If not treated, depression can spiral into feelings of worthlessness, despair and suicide. Early intervention and treatment can reverse these feelings and make life seem livable again.

About eight percent to 15 percent of women report diagnosable postpartum depression, which is more severe and long-lasting than the "baby blues," within six months of delivery, and if you've had prior depressive episodes, you have a much higher risk.

Chronic but mild depression, or dysthymia, is marked by low energy, a general negativity, and a sense of dissatisfaction and hopelessness. A person suffering from dysthymia may experience many of the same symptoms that occur in major depression, but they are less intense and last much longer-at least two years.

References

"FDA Plans to Evaluate Results of Women's Health Initiative Study for Estrogen-Alone Therapy." U.S. Food and Drug Administration. "FDA Talk Paper." March 2, 2004. http://www.fda.gov. Accessed March 2004.

Effects of Estrogen plus Progestin on Health-Related Quality of Life. J. Hays et al. NEJM, May 8,2003; Vol. 348, No. 19.

FDA Approves Lower Dose of Prempro, a Combination Estrogen and Progestin Drug for Postmenopausal Women. FDA News (press release). March 13, 2003. http://www.fda.gov

"FDA Approves New Labels for Estrogen and Estrogen with Progestin Therapies for Postmenopausal Women Following Review of Women's Health Initiative Data." FDA News/Press Release. January 8, 2003. http://www.fda.gov. Accessed March 2003.

"St. John's Wort." National Center for Complementaty and Alternative Medicine. http://www.nccam.nih.gov. Accessed July 2002.

Hypericum Depression Trial Study Group. Effect of Hypericum perforatum (St. John's wort) in major depressive disorder: a randomized, controlled trial. JAMA, 2002; 287:1807-14.

Shelton RC, Keller MB, Gelenberg AJ, et al. Effectiveness of St. John's wort in major depression. JAMA, 2001; 285:1978-86.

"Summit on Women and Depression: Proceedings and Recommendations." American Psychological Association. April 2002.

Grady D, Herrington D, Bittner V, et al, for the HERS Research Group. Heart and estrogen/progestin replacement study follow-up (HERS II): Part 1. Cardiovascular outcomes during 6.8 years of hormone therapy. JAMA 2002;288:49-57.

Hulley S, Furberg C, Barrett-Connor E, et al, for the HERS Research Group. Heart and estrogen/progestin replacement study follow-up (HERS II): Part 2. Non-cardiovascular outcomes during 6.8 years of hormone therapy. JAMA 2002;288:58-66.

Writing Group for the Women's Health Initiative Investigators. Risks and benefits of estrogen plus progestin in healthy postmenopausal women: principal results from the Women's Health Initiative randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2002; 288:321-333.

"Women's Health Initiative," National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov. Updated Aug. 2003; accessed Aug. 2003.

The Menopause Guidebook: Helping Women Make Informed Healthcare Decisions through Perimenopause and Beyond. North American Menopause Society: May 2003; http://www.menopause.org. Accessed Aug. 2003.

Public Alert on St. John's Wort. National Institutes of Mental Health. Feb. 20, 2001. http://www.nimh.nih.gov. Accessed Oct. 2001.

"Depression: Investigational Treatments" Veritas Medicine. Reviewed Jan. 10, 2001. http://www.veritasmedicine.com. Accessed Aug. 2003.

"Pharmacologic Treatment of Acute Major Depression and Dysthymia" Annals of Internal Medicine 2000; 132:738-742. Clinical Guideline, Part 1.http://www.annals.org. Accessed Aug. 2003.

Rush, A. John, et al. "Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) for Treatment-Resistant Depressions: A Multicenter Study."Biol Psychiatry Vol. 47, No. 4, February 15, 2000:276-286.

For the Public. National Institute of Mental Health. http://www.nimh.nih.gov. Updated Jan. 2003. Accessed June 2003.

"Fact Sheets" National Mental Health Association. http://www.nmha.org. Date published: n/a. Accessed June 2003.

Help Center. American Psychological Association. http://helping.apa.org. Accessed June 2003.

Public Information. American Psychiatric Association. http://www.psych.org. Accessed June 2003.

"Introducing New Lexapro" Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Copyright 2002. http://www.lexapro.com. Accessed Nov. 2002.

Morris M.S, et al. "Depression and Folate Status in the US Population" Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, Vol 72, No 2, 2003. http://content.karger.com. Accessed June 2003.

"Bone Loss in Premenopausal Women with Depression" National Institute of Mental Health. Updated Aug. 2002. http://clinicaltrials.gov. Accessed June 2003.

"Magnets that can fight depression" Depression and Bipolar Alliance (DBSA). Aug. 20, 2003. http://www.dbsalliance.org. Accessed Aug. 2003.

"Rates of Dementia Increase Among Older Women on Combination Hormone Therapy" NIH News, May 27, 2003. http://www.nih.gov. Accessed Aug. 2003.

Caspi, A. et al. "Influence of Life Stress on Depression: Moderation by a Polymorphism in the 5-HTT Gene." Science, vol. 301, pages 386-389. July 18, 2003.

"Depression & Women" National Women's Health Report, Vol. 25, No. 4. Published Aug. 2003. National Women's Health Resource Center. Accessed Aug. 2003.

Kessler R.C., et al. National Comorbidity Survey Replication. "The epidemiology of major depressive disorder: results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R)." JAMA. 2003 June 18; 289(23): 3095-105.

Lexapro [package insert]. St. Louis, MO. Forest Pharmaceuticals. 2002.

Keywords: depression, women, stress, suicide, medications
COPYRIGHT 2006 National Women's Health Resource Center
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

 Reader Opinion

Title:

Comment:



 

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:NWHRC Health Center - Depression
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 12, 2006
Words:1098
Previous Article:Depression; Prevention.
Next Article:Depression; Key Q&A.
Topics:



Related Articles
Are we becoming a nation of depressives? By many estimates depression has become the scourge of Westerners. Already the fourth leading cause of...
Depression and women.
Depression in dancers: nobody's perfect--but try to tell that to an overachiever.
St. John's Wort (SJW).
Depression; Facts to Know.
Identifying depression: we must do more.
Data conflicting on depression-diabetes link.
With comorbid RLS, severity of depression is key factor.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2014 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters