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Depression in Women

As women, we are twice as likely to suffer from depression at some point in our lives. Chances are you already know someone who suffers from a mental disorder, whether it a family member, a neighbor, or a co-worker.

More than the Blues

Kate Pender, RN, MS, has been serving as a community parish nurse with the Triangle Community Ministry for 10 years and has journeyed with women through their depression. She explains:

There is no quick fix for depression as for an infection – whereas antibiotics kick in quickly, antidepressant medications may take weeks to begin to be effective – women may give up and turn to self-medication with food, tobacco, alcohol, drugs – anything to try to feel better. The truth of course is that self-medication compounds the problems increasing depression and development of other chronic diseases.”

The Gender Gap

We know that women are twice as likely to suffer from depression as men. But why?

Experts believe that it may be the changes in hormone levels throughout a woman’s life that causes the increase depression rates. These periods of hormone changes include:

  • Puberty
  • Before menstrual cycles
  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause

Specific types of depression can result from these different periods, such as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) in conjunction with menstrual cycles, and postpartum depression following pregnancy. Although these hormone changes may put women at a greater risk for depression, other biological risks, life experiences, and interpersonal factors also play a part.

Moving Forward

Seeking help may be the hardest part of battling depression. As women, we want to stay strong, and many times are busy taking care of our families before ourselves. However, it is important to remember that we are not able to take care of others if we are not healthy ourselves, first. Click here for a list of local support groups.

Other Resources:

NAMI Wisconsin
Wisconsin United for Mental Health
Wisconsin Community Mental Health Services
2-1-1 Wisconsin


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