How Does Depression Impact Men and Women?

December 1, 2023

Depression is a prevalent mental health disorder that affects people of all ages and genders. However, research has emerged highlighting the different ways depression impacts men and women.  Finding the right depression treatment Chatanooga offers can help Tennesee residents deal with this condition. By understanding depression and gender aspects it can help those with depression find the support and care they need for improved mental health and well-being.

Depression Facts

Depression is a serious mental health condition that affects individuals worldwide. While there are different types of depression, here are some important facts about depression:

  • Prevalence: Depression is one of the most common mental disorders globally, affecting an estimated 280 million people, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Gender Disparities: Women tend to experience higher rates of depression than men. This difference may be due to biological factors, societal expectations, hormonal changes, and other social and environmental factors.
  • Impact on Men: Although men have lower rates of diagnosed depression compared to women, they are more likely to suffer from untreated or undiagnosed depression. This could be attributed to cultural norms discouraging men from expressing emotions and seeking help.
  • Risk Factors: Certain factors can increase the risk of experiencing depression, such as genetics (family history), past traumatic experiences (abuse or neglect), chronic illnesses (cancer or diabetes), substance abuse issues (alcoholism or drug addiction), and significant life events (bereavement).

Women and Depression

Depression affects women differently for several reasons. Firstly, there are fluctuations in hormonal levels during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause that can contribute to increased vulnerability to depression among women.

Next, women often face unique societal pressures and expectations that may lead to stress, anxiety, and, ultimately, depression. These include gender inequality, discrimination, caregiver roles, work-family balance struggles, and body image concerns.

Women are also more likely to experience trauma or abuse, such as sexual assault or domestic violence. These traumatic experiences significantly increase the risk of developing depression. Furthermore, some research suggests that differences in brain chemistry between men and women on a biological level may play a role in varying rates of depression.

Lastly, although depression and gender can result in struggles with seeking help for mental health issues due to stigma or reluctance, studies have shown that women tend to be more willing to acknowledge their emotional distress and seek treatment compared to men.

Men and Depression

There are also unique aspects that characterize depression in men. For starters, men are often underdiagnosed for depression for several reasons, such as societal expectations, traditional masculine norms, and reluctance to seek help or express emotions. This can result in a lack of adequate support and treatment or self-medicating practices. 

Men can and do exhibit different symptoms compared to women when experiencing depression. Instead of openly expressing sadness or tearfulness, they might manifest irritability, anger, aggression, or engage in risky behaviors like substance abuse.

Additionally, societal expectations related to masculinity can make it challenging for men to openly discuss their emotional struggles without fear of judgment or being perceived as weak. The stigma associated with seeking help for men’s mental health issues further deters them from seeking appropriate treatment. When men do seek treatment for depression, they may also face certain challenges, such as finding appropriate gender-specific care. 

a woman sitting on the bed thinking about how depression and gender are related
If you are unsure how depression and gender are related, learn more about how differently depression affects the two genders

Risk Factors for Women and Depression

Several risk factors contribute to the higher prevalence of depression among women. These include:

  • Hormonal Factors
  • Reproductive Events
  • Pregnancy Complications
  • Fertility Issues
  • Postpartum Depression 
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
  • Social and Cultural Factors
  • Trauma and Abuse
  • Chronic Illnesses
  • Caregiver Role Strains

Risk Factors for Men and Depression

Risk factors for depression in men include:

  • Societal Expectations
  • Masculinity Stereotypes
  • Employment Stress
  • Substance Abuse
  • History of Unresolved Trauma
  • Relationship Problems

Coping Mechanisms in Each Gender

The coping mechanisms for depression and gender can vary between men and women. However, it is worth noting coping mechanisms are not exclusive to one gender. 

Coping Mechanisms in Women

Women tend to emphasize building strong social networks and seeking support from family, friends, or support groups as a way to cope with their depressive symptoms. They also can find solace in expressing their emotions through talking, journaling, art therapy, or engaging in activities that allow them to process and release their feelings.

Many women engage in self-care activities such as regular exercise, practicing mindfulness or meditation, and trying to get sufficient sleep. Therapy and counseling also allow women to explore their emotions and develop more personalized coping mechanisms. 

Coping Mechanisms in Men

Men often prefer taking a practical approach when dealing with depression by problem-solving and seeking solutions rather than purely focusing on emotional expression. Many men use exercise and physical activity as an outlet to manage stress and anxiety related to depression.

Some men may turn to hobbies they find relaxing and can use as a distraction from depressive thoughts. Other men can prefer solitude, where they can process their emotions privately. Men also can choose counseling and therapy as coping mechanisms. However, they must first accept and recognize the need for support.

Depression and Gender and Suicide

Women have higher rates of diagnosed depression compared to men. However, men have higher rates of completed suicide. This disparity is partly influenced by the fact that men tend to use more lethal methods when attempting suicide and may be less likely to seek help for their mental health struggles.

Traditional masculine ideals often discourage men from seeking help or expressing vulnerability openly, which can exacerbate their distress and increase suicide risk. It is crucial to recognize warning signs, including withdrawal from friends and family, constant hopelessness or worthlessness, and increased irritability and aggression. 

The Value of Treatment

Mental health treatment provides opportunities for individuals to recover from their depressive symptoms and improve their overall well-being. Treatment helps manage these symptoms effectively to minimize their impact on daily functioning and can significantly enhance an individual’s quality of life. In addition, treatment can help men and women find support among their peers. 

Find the best treatment for mental health in Tennessee and utilize all the perks of professional assistance.

Depression and Gender-specific Treatment in Chattanooga, TN

Take the first step towards gender-specific treatment for depression in Chattanooga, TN, at Time Wellness. We understand the unique challenges that men and women face when dealing with depression. Our experienced therapists provide individualized care and evidence-based interventions tailored to your needs. Let us guide you on your journey to better mental health by contacting us today.