New Delhi: Increased episodes of depression in women may be attributed to changes in hormone levels that keep occurring through a woman’s life, besides, other factors such as genetics, situational stress and anxiety, as well as important life events such as marriage or pregnancy.
In our country, most women and housewives, in particular, often feel shy to accept the fact that they are experiencing any form of depression.
Given the fact that one in every four women is likely to have an episode of major depression at some point of time in their lives, it becomes imperative to talk and understand about the different types depending upon causes, symptoms and their manifestations.
According to Dr Neelesh Tiwari, a Neuro-psychiatrist of World Brain Center Hospital, five types of depression noticed most commonly among women:
1.Antenatal depression, or depression during pregnancy is one of the most common types of depression among women in Indian cities. Pregnancy months are in fact clinically regarded as period of high vulnerability of being depressed and morose in general for women, as giving birth to a baby requires months of sacrifice and emotional transformation anyway. The hormonal shifts going through her body during pregnancy could lead to a range of emotions, and lead to persistent sadness, hopelessness, guilt feelings, anxiety and also food cravings and insomniac tendencies. If not given adequate care and attention, pregnancy related depression problems can continue for a long period of time, and even harm the development of the baby in the womb. Normally, obese women and women having high-risk pregnancies are the ones more depressed than their counterparts.
2. Post-partum depression, or depression after childbirth: It is usually marked by multiple feelings of sadness, emptiness, hopelessness and so on. In fact, in the first weeks following giving birth to a newborn, the mother usually goes through a roller coaster of emotions, which often becomes difficult to handle as most of them are in an emotional state of tearfulness, worry, self-doubt, and fatigue. This type of depression typically begins with a phase called ‘baby blues’ typically lasting for a few days after delivery. But in more severe cases, these intense feelings last much longer causing depression.
3. Post-marital depression, or depression that creeps in immediately or few years after marriage, is a significant problem in Indian brides. Every marriage is preceded and followed by a lot of expectations from the girl, her family, and the society at large, which do not often get fulfilled. While the bride is always at the center of attention during the wedding period, just after it is over, she may feel totally secluded. Disappointments in altered living conditions (read father-in-law’s place) and moving away from near and dear ones can cause lot of anxiety, which is again a contributor to gradual depressive behaviour. Other factors like dowry expectations from the groom’s family or domestic violence can make things worse, making this type of depression persistent in nature.
4. Dysthymia, also known as persistent depressive disorder, is a long-lasting low-grade depression prevalent over several years, and mostly seen in homemakers. While it usually begins with never-ending mood blues, it makes women become pessimistic and bored after a few years, even when they are able to carry on with their daily household work with ease. Moreover, it can lead to change in appetite (not eating much or overeating), sleep disorders, fatigue, and lack of confidence in taking decisions, and the problems can escalate during season change or dizzy weather. Many women with this type of disorder prefer to remain silently and secretly sad on a long-term basis, and hence the issue remains significantly under diagnosed in India.
5. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder is a severe type of depression that strikes once a month in women, causing irritability and nervousness before the monthly menstruation cycle begins. As the brain shows abnormal reaction to sudden internal hormonal changes, it can bring women down emotionally and physically, and the major symptoms include frequent mood swings, irritation, fatigue and getting overwhelmed early. Over the long term, it can make her hopeless and affect relationships and overall well-being. Also, this syndrome usually affects women with gynecological problems (such as PCOD/PCOS) and teenagers in a more adverse way.