How Does Depression Impact Each Gender?

January 19, 2024

Depression is a complex mental health disorder that affects people of all ages, backgrounds, and genders. However, the experience and impacts of depression and gender can vary significantly. Depression manifests itself differently in males and females based on biological, social, cultural, and psychological factors. By understanding these gender-specific aspects of depression, we can better tailor treatment and support strategies to ensure better mental health for men and women struggling with depression.

Risk Factors for Depression

While anyone can experience depression regardless of their circumstances, several common factors increase the likelihood of developing the disorder. Individuals with a family history of depression are at a higher risk due to genetic predispositions. Additionally, imbalances in brain chemicals such as neurotransmitters, specifically serotonin and dopamine, can increase vulnerability.

Significant life changes or traumatic events like the loss of a loved one, job-related difficulties, divorce, or breakups can trigger depressive episodes. Continuous exposure to chronic stress from work pressures or financial instability may also increase susceptibility.

In addition, people who have previously experienced other mental health disorders or abuse substances are more likely to develop depression. Substance use disorders often intensify symptoms. Lack of social support networks, feelings of loneliness or isolation, and a lack of meaningful connections with others can also increase the risk of developing depression. 

Luckily, nowadays, there are a lot of resources for dealing with depression. One of the best depression treatment centers in Tennessee offers various services and programs to help everyone dealing with this condition.

Depression and Gender: Comparing Men and Women

Depression affects men and women differently in the way it is experienced and expressed. Research suggests that women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression than men. This may be attributed to various factors, including hormonal differences, cultural expectations, and societal pressures.

On the other hand, men might express depression through externalizing behaviors such as anger, irritability, substance abuse, or reckless behavior. Due to traditional gender norms that discourage emotional vulnerability in males, they may be less likely to acknowledge or discuss their mental health concerns openly.

Depression and Gender: Women and Depression

Women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression compared to men. This can be a combination of biological, hormonal, psychological, and social factors.

Risk Factors for Women and Depression

Biologically, women undergo significant hormonal changes throughout their lives that contribute to increased vulnerability to depression. Puberty, menstrual cycles, pregnancy, postpartum birth, and menopause all involve fluctuations in hormone levels, which can impact mood regulation.

Societal expectations and gender roles may also play a role in the higher prevalence of depression among women. Women often juggle multiple roles, such as being caregivers for children or elderly family members, while also managing professional careers. These additional responsibilities can lead to chronic stress and feelings of overwhelm. Furthermore, women are more likely than men to experience certain traumatic events like physical and sexual abuse, which can significantly increase the risk of developing depression.

a girl sitting with her head lent on her knees, thinking about depression and gender
Depression and gender are correlated – depression manifests differently in men and women

Depression and Gender: Men and Depression

It is important to acknowledge that men can also experience depression. However, the symptoms and ways in which depression manifests in men often differ from women.

Men tend to display different patterns of behavior when dealing with depression. Rather than expressing their emotions openly, they often exhibit externalizing behaviors such as anger, irritability, aggression, or engaging in risky activities. This can mask underlying feelings of sadness or hopelessness and make it challenging for others to recognize their depressive symptoms.

Barriers to Men and Depression Treatment

Societal expectations and traditional gender norms also play a role in how men handle their mental health. The pressure to appear strong and self-reliant can be a deterrent for men and prevent them from seeking help or opening up about their feelings, leading to their depression being untreated. 

Furthermore, traditional gender roles discourage emotional expression among men. They are often taught to suppress emotions or “tough it out,” preventing them from acknowledging or recognizing their own depressive symptoms. Additionally, career-related stress or financial difficulties may contribute significantly to depressive symptoms among men. Job loss or failure can impact self-esteem and trigger feelings of worthlessness or fulfillment.

In order to start dealing with the symptoms of depression, everyone should be aware of the accessible mental health services in Tennessee. Seeking assistance is the first and most important step in the path toward healing.

Signs of Depression

The signs of depression vary from person to person and gender but can include:

  • Persistent sadness or a low mood that lasts for an extended period
  • Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, or worthlessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite and weight (significant decrease or increase)
  • Sleep disturbances such as insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Fatigue and loss of energy even with minimal exertion
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • The restlessness that is noticeable by others
  • Increased irritability, agitation, anxiety, or feelings of emptiness
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
  • Self-medicating symptoms of depression (addiction)

Treatment for Depression

Treatment for depression typically involves a combination of approaches personalized to fit the individual’s needs and goals. For example, we offer group therapy to help build peer support and social connections among others facing similar challenges.

At Time Wellness Tennessee, we also offer other services such as:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Medication management to help alleviate depression symptoms. 
  • Lifestyle changes, like regular exercise and eating a healthy diet. 
  • Learning yoga and mindfulness techniques to help alleviate stress.
  • Red light therapy – a red light used to treat and reduce depressive emotions.

Gender-Specific Depression Treatment in Chattanooga, TN

Whether you are a man or a woman, getting help for depression for better mental health and well-being is possible at Time Wellness Tennessee. Our caring and compassionate team understands depression and gender differences. As such, we personalize treatment plans based on your needs and objectives. Contact us now to take the first step to a brighter future.