Mental illness impact women in a very different way than men. Women tend to suffer from certain mental disorders like Depression two times more than men but tend to speak about it much less. It is mostly due to the factors such as social conditioning, sex-specific responsibilities, victimisation, gender bias and stereotypes. Women and their families remain oblivion to the emotional abuse they are most vulnerable to. Vayam is special initiative by Dr Mitali Soni Loya which aims to spread the awareness of mental health for women. We aim to provide support to the women, by the women so that they can feel free and open up about their psychological issues.
Mental health impacts women in a very different way than men. Depression in women is very common, the fairer sex is twice more likely to develop
depression. According to various studies about one in every four women is likely to develop depression at some point in life. It is very unfortunate
that more than two thirds of women do not get the much needed help. Depression is a serious condition that can affect every area of women's life.
It affects social life, family relationships, career, and one's sense of self-worth and purpose.
There are several factors that contribute to the
unique picture of depression in women starting from reproductive hormones to social pressures to the female response to stress.
Unipolar depressive disorder is the fourth most common cause of disability in females, in all ages.
The predominance of depression in females is consistent finding of various studies conducted in India. The greatest risk for developing depressive
disorders has been observed during their child-bearing years. Factors such as stress due to sex specific responsibilities, social conditioning,
victimization, inequalities, prejudice, bias, coping styles, disadvantaged social status, and much perceived stigma of mental illness, contribute
to the increased vulnerability of women to depression.
Depression is also a consequence of domestic violence, which affects women at some point in their lives.
A Recent growing trend in India has shifted the age-old status of women from homemakers to the working class, which offers them independence and
financial stability but in a study it was found that, sixty eight percent working women sixty-eight percent have lifestyle diseases such as obesity,
depression, chronic backache, diabetes, and hypertension.
It is said that long hours of working under strict deadlines cause up to 75% of working women to suffer from depression or general anxiety disorder.
Factors such exposure to industrial pollutants and environmental toxins, poor quality of sleep, lack of exercise, sunlight exposure, poor nutrition, excessive intake of alcohol, and drug abuse also cause depression.
Depression can present in different ways in different individuals and an expert opinion is mandatory for its diagnosis and treatment.
Depression can be identified by some common signs which are as follows:
1 Feeling helpless and hopeless. An outlook that nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
2 Loss of interest in daily activities. You don’t care anymore about former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
3 Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
4 Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping.
5 Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
6 Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
7 Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
8 Reckless behavior. Substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
9 Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
10 Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.
There are some types of depression which are exclusively seen in females. These are:
Pre Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder: This typically starts about 5–10 days before onset of menses and lasts till the end of menses. It affects both social and occupational functioning, leading to various degrees of maladjustment and decreased output. Women over age 30 have greater premenstrual problems, while younger women have more frequent menstrual symptoms, especially dysmenorrhea.
Women may experience symptoms like sadness, anxiety, anger, irritability, labile mood, difficulty in concentrating, increased sensitivity, suicidal thoughts, headache, breast tenderness, joint and muscle pain, insomnia or hypersomnia, anorexia, fatigue, lethargy, agitation, libido change, hysteria, and even psychosis. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, palpitations, weight, gain, swelling over legs, bloating, oliguria vertigo, dizziness, tremors, numbness, clumsiness may also be seen.
Depression during pregnancy: Depression during pregnancy is very common. One in five woman experiences depression either during or post pregnancy. If left untreated it may result in deterioration of the health of both the mother and the baby due to poor prenatal care, inadequate nutrition, elevated risk of postpartum depression, suicide, greater incidence of preterm deliveries, and small babies.
Depression should be differentiated from the postpartum blues, a temporary condition beginnings in the first 2–4 days after giving birth peaks between postpartum days 5 and 7, and dissipating by the end of the second postpartum week.Depression during pregnancy or after delivery is associated with:
Excessive anxiety about baby's health that cannot be diminished by reassurance. The mother blames herself for not being competent enough to take care of the baby. There is a constant worry and a reluctance to feed the baby. There may be symptoms of irritability difficulty in falling asleep and fear of harming her own baby. suicidal thoughts may also be present.
Its high time we threw light on the most undiscussed and stigmatised issue
that is ‘empowerment of women’s mental health.’Women and their
families remain oblivion to the emotional abuse they are most vulnerable
to. To have a knowledge about depression is important as we tend to
ignore the symptoms. There is a common notion that one can manage
one’s thoughts and actions but the depression is much more than just
feeling sad. It is a chronic illness which can be diagnosed and treated by
a wel qualified psychiatrist.