Depression is a common and serious condition which affects functioning, social life, career, and relationships. Women are two to three times more prone to develop depression than men. This gender difference is due to various factors associated with women’s life. Even in terms of symptoms women might experience different and unique symptoms.

Earlier women were expected to take responsibility of the family life and social things. In recent times, there is a significant change in the role and responsibilities of women. Most of the women are employed, and it is a real challenge in the modern society to balance work and life.

Signs and symptoms of depression:

• Sadness of mood

• Loss of interest or pleasure in activities which you used to enjoy

• Feelings of guilt, hopelessness and worthlessness

• Trouble falling asleep or sleeping too much

• Decreased appetite or over eating

• Difficulty concentrating

• Lack of energy and fatigue

• Death wishes or suicidal thoughts

Causes of depression in women:

Most of the time it is considered that women experience more depression because of hormonal changes they go through, however it is also known that stress coping mechanisms are also different in them. Many events of day to day can also precipitate depression.

1. Hormonal changes – Premenstrual syndromes (PMS), Menopause

2. Infertility and pregnancy

3. Postpartum depression

4. Marital or relationship problems

5. Difficulty balancing the pressures of career and home life

6. Family responsibilities such as caring for children, spouse, or aging parents

7. Body image issues

8. Discrimination at work

9. Harassment and domestic violence

Self-help tips to manage depression:

1. Symptoms of depression are easy to identify, however they are neglected as it is considered just a part of life and it will pass off.

2. If symptoms are persistent try to introspect yourself and see why it is happening.

3. Try to see is there a link between the menstrual cycles and the emotional symptoms

4. Accept that depression can happen to anyone and it is a treatable condition. Have positive feeling every day and think I will come  out of it.

5. Do not try to work very hard to get rid of the negative feelings, remember they take time to disappear and you need to make some time for yourself to deal with it.

6. Learn some skills to manage conflicts arising at office and family life.

7. Share what you’re going through with the people you love and trust.

8. Avoid isolating yourself or avoiding situations, try to participate and indulge in activities, even if you are not interested.

9. Aim for 6-8hrs of sleep.

10. Practice relaxation techniques- Deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, progressive muscular relaxation at least 20min a day

11. Exercise every day - it can reduce the symptoms of depression.

12. Eat lot of fruits and nuts, sprouts and calcium rich foods.

13. Counseling and antidepressant medications are necessary if you are unable to manage your symptoms - kindly seek professional help as soon as possible.