How are American Women Handling Depression?

Depression in women often goes untreated

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Depression is a leading cause of disability around the world. Yet the condition often goes undiagnosed and untreated. And guess what, women are most often undiagnosed.

Women report having experienced a major depressive episode at about twice as often as men. Depression in women has been associated with substance abuse and other psychiatric disorders, as well as reproductive and pregnancy issues.

But very few women are properly diagnosed or treated.

So what's a women to do? A doctor, psychiatrist or therapist can help you decide on the best treatment plan.

"Talk to a psychiatrist about any depression symptoms."

Jean Ko, PhD of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta conducted a review of data collected from 2005 to 2009. The study examined the impact that depression had on nearly 9,000 women.

Depression affects 8 to 16 percent of US women aged 18 to 44 years. The study found that over half of women with symptoms of a major depressive episode go undiagnosed.

For a major depressive episode, diagnosis requires experiencing symptoms for two weeks or more. Symptoms of a major depressive episode can include loss of interest, depressed mood, changes in sleep, changes in weight, loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness, inability to concentrate and thoughts of death or suicide.

According to the study, only half of women who are diagnosed with a major depressive episode receive treatment. The study found that cost of treatment is the biggest obstacle.

Today there are many non-profit or government run mental health facilities that offer low-cost counseling all over the country.

Even many therapists in private practice offer some free or sliding scale therapy sessions.

The study also noted that about 26 percent of women didn’t receive treatment due to stigma surrounding depression and treatment.

This study was published in the August issue of the Journal of Women’s Health and was funded by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
August 20, 2012
Last Updated:
August 27, 2012