Center of Psychological Effectiveness
April 2010
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"I used to be good friends with my depression, saying oh I'm so depressed, or life is terrible."
 -Tony Curtis Actor/Artist

Women's values may be reason they're more depression-prone

    Depression is one of the most devastating illnesses. Depressive feelings range from mild to severe. Symptoms of depression are feeling overwhelming, lethargic, hopeless, fatigued, low self-worth; eating and sleeping habits may change.  

    Depression is reported four times as frequently among women than among men, a statistic consistent throughout the world. Among the possible explanations for the gender difference the self-critical and people-pleasing behaviors more common to women than to men.

    Women appear to have greater difficulty in recognizing their strengths and, often, criticize themselves for minor mistakes. Moreover, women are more concerned with their opinions of others and often engage in people-pleasing behavior to receive approval from others.  The female behavior of looking outside oneself for validation appears to place them at a higher risk for depression.

    Women also place a great focus on their body image. A focus on physical appearance as the barometer of their personal value increases vulnerability to depression. Women need to develop the ability to define self-worth broadly as a reflection of multiple talents and strengths.

    Advancements in the treatment of depression have been numerous and it can be treated. Both men and women need to avoid being overwhelmed by life demands. It is essential to take time for stress-relieving activities and balance work with outside interests. Additionally, you must be gentle with yourself, accept mistakes, develop realistic expectations and recognize personal strengths.

    A key behavior to "fight the blues" is the ability for internal validation. Your ability to recognize your strengths vs. a constant need to receive external approval is essential. If you possess a strong sense of your own value, independent of the evaluations of others, you've got a strong armor against depression.