Essay, Research Paper: Depression In Women


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An article in Scientific American called "Why are so many women
depressed", by Ellen Liebenluft, focused on the reason why females are more
depressed than males. First, Depression comes with a variety of symptoms. For
example, a person suffering from depression may experience sleep disturbances,
hopelessness, and feeling of worthlessness, difficulty concentrating, experience
fatigue and sometime even delusions. Depression is very common among women. If
affects nearly 20 percent of women worldwide. Now we have to focus on the
reasons that would factor to Depression. Researchers may say that the women have
suffered a form of Physical, sexual abuse, harassment or discrimination is to
blame for the depression. But it does get more complicated than that. More
things can lead to depression too. The article points out that the increased
risk for depression in women today might come from genetics, the effects of
stressful events in their lives, social pressures, or the combination of all
three. Modern neuroscience uses neuroimaging by PET and MRI scans can reveal
that anger and sadness have a biological basis. It can see the circuits of the
brain becoming activated when these emotions change and arise. The first step in
figuring out why depression is more common in women, scientists have to study
how genetics and the environment divide us, men and women, which influence
depression. The environment can have positive and negative Affects on an
individual. It's the fact that the environment can make a person feel stressful,
such as having a stressful job that they dislike. Therefore, keeping his/her
feelings bottled up inside which can may result in depression. The differences
between the X and Y-chromosomes between men and women affect them in different
ways. The differences affect brain development so that men and women have
different needs, different reactions to everyday environmental stressors. Post
pubertal men and women have different levels of circulating gonadal steroids
which somehow puts women more at risk for depression. Girls become more
susceptible to depression after puberty because the girls begin to menstruate
therefore, they experience hormonal fluxes. Another study has shown that
estrogen also might cause depression. When a women is stressed, the adrenal
glands that are controlled by the pituitary gland in the brain-secretes high
levels of a hormone, called Cortisol. Cortisol's duty is to increase the
activity of the body's metabolic as well as its immune system. If the stress
increase cortisol secretion, it tends to have a negative affect on the pituitary
gland. For example, during menstruation, women experience mood swings. The
higher the cortisol and estrogen levels, they're most likely to suffer from
depression. There was a study done at the Medical College of Virginia. In a
study of 2,060 female twins, the researchers wanted to see if genetics had to do
with their depression. Some twins in both groups had recently lost a loved one
or had a divorce. In contrast, the women who didn't have a family history of
depression, the stressful events raised their risk of depression by only 6
percent. The same study showed that 14 percent of women who did have a family
history of depression had become depressed due to the crisis that occurred in
their lives. Researchers also pointed out that the hormones estrogen and
cortisol aren't the only hormones that lead to depression in females. The next
hormone is known as Melatonin. The Pineal gland secretes the Melatonin at night.
In the morning the melatonin level drops. It explains why many people suffer
from Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder (SAD). Seasonal changes change a person's
mood as well as change his/her outlook on life. For example, in the winter we
tend to stay indoors. As a result we feel trapped and isolated, while in the
summer there are many things to do such as going on vacation with family and
enjoying life outdoors. Just when you think nothing else is to blame for
depression, there are more reason's to add to the list. The difference's in
gender is another characteristic. The women tend to keep things inside,
resulting in depression and anxiety. On the other hand, men tend to use alcohol
and use severe aggression, causing them to act out their feelings. Nowadays,
Scientists are treating patients with drugs, such as Prozac. Prozac is an
antidepressant. The patient responds to the medication or psychotherapy or both.
Depression is increasing so much that the cost of treatment throughout the US
Economy is $30.4 billion each year. The more depression spreads, the more
studies and treatments are to derive, which provides us with more logical
reasons for the causes of depression.
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