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Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.
Dr. Schwartz's Weblog

Women and Depression

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Nov 15th 2007

The results of a recent study of women and depression were released by the Society for Women's Health. The study not only showed that there is a wide disconnect between what women believe about depression and medication versus what their doctor's believe, but women also appear to be misinformed about the symptoms of depression and what their causes are.

According to the study, most women believe it is unsafe to take anti depressant medication for the treatment of post partum depression. In fact, some incorrectly believe that depression is a normal part of pregnancy and child delivery. Many of these same females falsely think that their depression will gradually vanish over time. While that is true in some cases, in many others, the depression continues to worsen. Finally, these same women were unaware of any family history of post partum depression.

The study also revealed that vast numbers of women do not understand the relationship between stages of life, hormonal changes and the experience of depression. For example, there is a wide scale lack of information about the fact that menopause not only changes the hormonal balance in a woman's body but, very often, leads to depressive symptoms.

Curiously, there is a lack of accurate information about the symptoms of depression, with many women believing that depression symptoms are strictly emotional in nature. In other words, these women are unaware that such physical experiences as the inability to sleep, the experience of pain and changes in appetite, are all symptoms of depression.

The reason why knowledge and awareness with regard to depression is so important has to do with the need to seek treatment. Plenty of research clearly demonstrates the facts that mothers who suffer from depression are not able to be emotionally present and responsive to their young children due to their depression. Also, depression, when it becomes serious enough, brings with it the risk of suicide. There are also plenty of studies that clearly link depression with physical health.

It is hugely important for men and women to be aware of depression, its symptoms and the importance of treatment. Some of those symptoms of depression are:

Symptoms of Depression

1. Tearfulness

2. Sleep difficulties: too much or too little sleep

3. Changes in appetite: serious increase or decrease in appetite along with weight changes

4. Thoughts that life is not worth living

5. Chronic tiredness

6. Agitation and restlessness

7. Physical aches and pains

8. Suicidal thoughts

9. History of depression in the family

10. Irritability and quickness to temper.

While this is not a comprehensive list it is enough so that if you are experiencing these types of symptoms it is time to see your MD to learn whether or not depression is your problem. If it is, there is effective treatment available.

Your comments are welcome and encouraged.

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Readers who live in the Boulder, Colorado metro area, or in Southwest Florida may contact Dr. Schwartz for face-to-face consultation. He is also available for psychotherapy through Skype video for those who are not in Florida or Colorado. He can be reached via email at for details.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

depression and antidepressant drugs - - Apr 4th 2009

I have been given these drugs for ten years with no result. Only talk therapy helped.

Though I feel cured, deep down, I know the beast (depression) is biding its time. But as a survivor, I can testify the fight can be won,

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