Women have more mental health problems than men

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Tackling mental illness is one of the most difficult issues facing the healthcare industry. For starters, major disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety are often difficult to diagnose. The cultural stigma associated with mental illness, however, is probably the most costly barrier to treatment. The reluctance of individuals to seek treatment for mental illnesses has a disproportionate impact on women, in large part because women are more susceptible than men to many common mental illnesses.

Although mental illness affects all segments of the world’s population, healthcare professionals are finding that treating women with the same problems requires a different methodology than treating men with the same disorders.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), while the prevalence of schizophrenia and bipolar disease is the same for men and women, the symptoms experienced by women frequently differ from those seen in men.

Besides being too embarrassed to seek help with a mental illness, most women don’t know that their symptoms are the result of an illness that can be treated. Education is an important step in improving the identification and treatment of mental health disorders in women: providing information on the prevalence of mental illness, the negative consequences it has on women and families, and the many services available to help them get the care they need to recover.

Biological variables have been shown to have a role in the development of mental illnesses in women. Women have lower serotonin levels than men because they absorb the neurotransmitter faster, which leads to mood swings. Women are also more vulnerable to hormonal fluctuations than men.

Biological differences could also play a role in the development of certain mental health problems.

Women are twice as likely as men to have unipolar disorder. Women are more likely than men to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Eating disorders affect nearly ten times more women than men. Anorexia affects 1.9 percent of women and 0.2 percent of men each year. Young women are particularly prone to eating disorders: bulimia affects between 0.5 and 1% of young women over the course of a year.

Women are influenced by the strengths and values ​​of society in addition to gender. Women have historically remained subordinate in the family, with all the main tasks of raising children and caring for the elderly. Although gender stereotypes in our society have changed, with women occupying more important positions and men staying at home to care for children, women continue to experience enormous stress. Episodes of depression and panic can be brought on by stress.

Additionally, women in our culture have just been sexualized, whether through publications, movies, TV shows, or social connections. This pattern of negative sexual objectification can stifle the proper development of self-esteem and identity. These circumstances can cause hopelessness, worry, tension and guilt, all of which have a severe impact on women’s mental health.

Along with sexual objectification, violence and stigmatized harassment are two other variables that lead to mental health issues in women.

Women are much more likely than men to suffer from mental illnesses such as depression, eating disorders and panic attacks. Women also have distinct challenges compared to men in terms of understanding symptoms and developing treatment strategies.

Some of the most common mental disorders affecting women are:

Depression

Twice as likely as men, women suffer from depression, with 12% of women suffering from it compared to 6% of men. Depression is characterized by feelings of extreme sadness or hopelessness that can be acute (lasting days, weeks, or longer) or chronic (lasting months or years). Common symptoms include a loss of interest in daily activities, changes in appetite, and a feeling of worthlessness. Depressive illnesses that can affect women’s mental health include major depression, bipolar disorder, postpartum depression, and major depressive disorder.

  • Depressed women often turn to alcohol abuse sometime after the onset of their depression.
  • To cope with depression, women frequently turn to religion and emotional activities.

Panic disorders

Panic disorders include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and social anxiety. Women are more likely than men to suffer from GAD and specific phobias. Panic disorders can develop as a result of or in addition to other problems such as depression or opioid addiction.

  • General anxiety disorder (GAD): Anxiety episodes can last from a few minutes to several hours and are often accompanied by strong feelings of anxiety, tension or rushing and women are twice as prone to them as men.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): PTSD can affect anyone and is caused by a stressful incident, but women are twice as likely to have it. PTSD can have a huge influence on how women see the world and themselves as they are frequently victims of sexual or physical violence.

Eating disorders

The social influences mentioned above are key contributors to eating disorders. The sexual objectification of women greatly leads to the development of low self-confidence, negative body image issues and low self-esteem in women. Weight has always been a scrutinized and elevated aspect of women’s lives, so it’s no wonder that they feel so much pressure to be physically perfect. Although eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia nervosa are more common in adolescents, they can occur at any age. Among people with eating disorders, women account for 85 percent of cases of bulimia and anorexia and about 65 percent of cases of binge eating disorder.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)

This disorder is characterized by a person’s extreme worry about a perceived physical imperfection. Patients with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) constantly seek confirmation of their appearance and find themselves “unattractive” to the point of seeking therapy. Cosmetic surgery to correct physical defects can be used as part of this procedure.

The disease affects both men and women, but social expectations associated with physical attractiveness could make it more difficult to achieve women’s mental health. Due to their fixation on their appearance, people with BDD may find it difficult to perform at work, at home, and in social situations. The most typical physical aspects of concern to BDD patients include acne and other skin problems, hair all over the body, and the shape and size of specific facial features.

All women should understand that mental health is just as essential as physical health. When we catch a cold or a fever, or if we hurt ourselves, we go to the doctor. Our mind is a component of our body, and when it needs help, we must provide that help as well. Acknowledging your feelings and asking for help doesn’t make you weak; on the contrary, it makes you strong.

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