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Depression in Middle Aged Women

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Authored by Jayant Row in Mental Health
Published on 05-19-2009

Most people develop depression after a highly stressful event occurs in their life. There is a relationship between stressful situations and the mind’s reaction to it. This could cause the onset of clinical depression, and other reactions in the body. The events need not be negative and traumatic. Such stress is also caused by positive events. The fact that such happy events are a rarity in one’s life can cause a person to feel a lot of stress, which in turn can lead to depression.

It is estimated that more than twenty five percent of middle aged women suffer from depression or anxiety. The reason for this seems to be that when they reach middle age women are highly stressed while balancing work and home. They may have the additional burden of having to care for older parents or in laws. Children would have started leaving home for education or for their own careers. This separation from the children could cause the woman to feel lonely and depressed. Anxiety attacks that cause depression can also be caused by happy events, like the marriage of a daughter. Some women feel under great stress even if their husband is promoted in the office. They think that this change in their social situation is stressful, and the woman who is unable to cope with this can get depressed.

One other reason that causes a lot of middle aged women to go into depression is that they may find themselves evaluating their lives, and comparing it with other more successful people they have known. Despite their having successfully run their career and homes and brought up their children well, they may think that these ties have been restrictive.

It is an unfortunate fact that most advertisements in the media will feature young women with well maintained bodies. This makes a woman constantly compare herself with these models and makes her aware of her lack of sex appeal. This could cause depression.

Symptoms of such depression are first noticeable when a woman complains of fatigue, irritability and sleep related problems. This could be a precursor to mental health problems. Genetic predisposition may also be a reason some women are more prone to depression than others who are in similar circumstances. There could be a family history showing such predisposition. It is said the episodes that can cause a person to feel depressed cause changes in the brain’s chemistry, and render the person even more vulnerable to future occurrences of depression. So in the later stages, even very minor stressful situations can cause the depression.

An unhappy marriage is one reason why middle age women go into depression. Once they reach middle age, they would probably lose the comfort of children in the home, and other family matters that kept them busy. This tends to focus their mind on their own marital status and the unhappiness and dissatisfaction that has resulted from it.

This is the time when middle aged women need to take charge of their lives and find other avenues and activities that can keep them busy and happy. Medical intervention is suggested for those who have very severe bouts of depression.

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