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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Is There a Difference Between Male and Female Depression?

Depression can happen to anybody including both men and women. Yet there can be some significant differences in how depression is experienced by the sexes.

One notable gender difference can be found in the statistics of who gets diagnosed with depression. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that Major Depressive Disorder is more prevalent in women than in men. In fact, women are said to be twice as likely as men to experience depression.

But are women really more depressed than men or can this statistic be explained by the fact that more women seek treatment than men do for their depression? In addition to differences in the prevalence of depression among men and women there are also differences to be noted as far as symptoms experienced and coping styles.

So when we talk about male and female depression are we talking about apples and oranges or are there more similarities than differences? Can a man, for example, truly understand what his female spouse is going through when she says she is depressed? And likewise, can women fully empathize with what a man feels when he is diagnosed with the same thing?

In order to gain some understanding of these gender differences in how men and women experience depression, I have enlisted the aid of both male and female mental health writers to provide their take on this somewhat controversial issue. My hope is that we will gain a better perspective and empathy for what the opposite sex goes through in coping with depression.

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