What are the Differences Between Male Depression and Female Depression?

There are definitely big differences between female and male depression. One of the most noted of these is that women have higher lifetime risk of this illness than do men. In her lifetime, a woman has a 20% risk of developing depression, while male depression occurs in about 10% of men, making women twice as likely to suffer from depression.

Several reasons exist for elevated risk of this disease in women, including the very basic biological elements that separate genders. Male depression may be less common because men do not menstruate, experience menopause, and they don’t go through the physical act of childbirth. These create huge hormonal shifts in women, which can contribute to a depressive state. However, it’s important to look at evidence that male depression is frequently underreported, and women are more likely to rate their degree of depression as higher and notice its existence, while some men may ignore mild to moderate depression.


An additional medical factor that may play a role in higher female depression incidence is thyroid disorders, particularly hypothyroidism or low thyroid. Presence of too little thyroid hormones, which can help to regulate mood, may be a contributory factor to developing mood disorders. This is a much more common condition in women than it is in men, and it is often not treated as seriously as it should be. There is great dispute in the medical community about when to treat hypothyroidism and whether low-normal levels of thyroid stimulating hormone or other thyroid hormones should indicate treatment.

Ways in which men and women respond to depression are dramatically different too. Women may be more likely to blame themselves, turn to things like food as comfort, withdraw from social activities, feel guilty and wonder how they have contributed to their own depression. They also may be depressed for longer time periods, and they are more likely to attempt suicide.

Men tend to get more outgoing, angry, blame the world, and use sex, drugs and alcohol as a coping method. Though they are less likely to attempt suicide when depressed, they are more likely to die than women and tend to succeed in their attempts. They may be depressed for shorter periods of time, but also may not be as expressive regarding the amount of depression they feel, and they may rate it as less severe than it is.

It helps to understand the basic differences between the way female and male depression may manifest, especially if looking to diagnose this as a medical professional, or just as someone concerned about a loved one of a certain gender. There are yet more differences and these can be found on many medical sites that extensively discuss depression. Still, each individual is different and may not easily fit into a single category, and depression in either gender is a serious illness. It is also an illness that responds well to medical treatment (usually of similar types for both genders), and to therapeutic measures.



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