HAVING the potential of adversely affecting the physical and mental well-being of a patient, depression is a serious and complex disorder. About twice as many women as men suffer from it, and in many ways depression can impact the social and family life of a patient. Though most of the causes of depression in women can be the same as found in men, certain biological causes like premenstrual problems, pregnancy or infertility, post-delivery conditions and the menopausal syndrome are found hanging around the females cutting across racial, ethnic and economic divides.

Women also go through the stress and strain of varied but ever demanding roles in life. Many times sexual and physical abuse and relationship upheavals compounded by real or imaginary sense of insecurity also produce depressive illness in women. Researchers have found that family history of mood disorders, nurturing negative feelings like hatred and jealousy, bereavements and use of certain medicines and hormones can additionally trigger depressive illness in susceptible females.

Most of the women at the onset of depression complain of low moods with loss of interest in activities they previously used to enjoy. Difficulty in concentrating, withdrawal from social life, daily routine and responsibilities, feeling less energetic and fatigued, change in the sleep pattern, body-aches, increased or diminished appetite and weight changes are some other important features of depression. Other symptoms like bouts of anger and irritability, feeling of guilt without any reason, sense of worthlessness, crying and complaining and suicidal thoughts are also found in women suffering from this disease.

Depressive women get the same type of treatment as men who suffer from it, but in their case the role of psychotherapy and other lifestyle modifying measures is more pronounced. Seeking help of her husband and some family member or friend and sharing with them the treatment and other modalities regarding her care often provides the patient the much-needed moral support.