Women and Depression

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Key findings in the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) Data Brief issued on Feb. 13 show that more than 8% of adults older than 20 years old reported having depression during a given two-week period. Women (10.4%) were almost twice as likely as were men (5.5%) to have had depression. Every day, women face many different stressors in both their personal and professional lives. Feeling sad, lonely and scared are normal reactions, however, for individuals who are diagnosed with depression, these feelings tend to be more severe as they persist. It is proven that, depression can affect women differently than men. Women are 2-3 times more likely than men to develop depression.1

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

  • Feelings of emptiness and hopelessness
  • Irritability, anxiousness, and guilt
  • Feelings of exhaustion, severe tiredness
  • Feelings of tension
  • Loss of interest and energy
  • Inability to concentrate or remember details
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts of suicide
  • Changes in appetite – eating too much or too little
  • Physical symptoms – aches and pains, cramps, headaches, digestive issues, breast tenderness, bloating
  • Mood swings 
  • Panic attacks
  • Sleep disturbances; sleeping too much or too little, insomnia

If you or someone you know express one or more of the following symptoms, please seek professional help. 

Read more about the symptoms of depression in women at Healthline.com.

Types of Depression

Major Depressive Disorder is the most commonly diagnosed form of depression. Around 16.1 million adults aged 18 years or older in the U.S. had experienced at least one major depressive episode in the last year, which represented 6.7 percent of all American adults. Depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States among people ages 15-44. Watch ADAA's What is Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)?

Postpartum Depression, or PPD, is depression in women associated with pregnancy. 13% of women may experience PPD between a week and a month after delivery. 



Treatment options and resources are usually the same for women as men, with the exception of women who are pregnant or may become pregnant. Depression can worsen, improve, or stay the same during pregnancy, and that may affect treatment. Learn about medication use during pregnancy here.

ADAA Resources




Personal Stories of Triumph: Depression

Other Resources

Trending Articles

  1. Depression’s “Transcriptional Signatures” Differ in Men vs. Women. (2017). NIMH.
  2. Prevalence of Depression Among Adults Aged 20 and Over: United States, 2013–2016. (2018). CDC. 
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