Impact of sex and gender aspects in depression

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Subjects Psychiatry and psychotherapy, Psychology and Sociology, Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy
Organ systems Endocrine system, Psyche
Main symptoms Depressed mood, Loss of interest, Joylessness, Reduced drive
Summary International research indicates that women are twice as likely to suffer from depression as men. According to data collected in a study evaluating the health of German adults, 13.1 percent of women and 6.4 percent of men aged 18 to 64 years were suffering from depression in 2014 (12-month prevalence).

Among other things, biological variables can be used to explain why the female sex is a risk factor for the development of a depressive disorder. For example, hormonal fluctuations before menstruation, after childbirth or during the menopause can trigger depressive or dysphoric symptoms. Ovarian hormones, for example, modulate serotonergic functions. However, socially influenced sex and gender roles may also have an influence on the sex-specific prevalence difference in depressive disorders. Men are considered ill particularly when somatic symptoms are present. Psychological “complaints” such as depression (or anxiety) are still frequently stigmatized and treated as taboo. At times this is described as "depression blindness" in men, which seems to have various underlying causes. A determining aspect here is that depressive symptoms can manifest differently in men than in women and are therefore not immediately recognized by medical personnel. The hypothesis appears to be valid that differences in prevalence are more likely attributable to underdiagnosis in men rather than a lower risk for disease.

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Paulina Juszczyk

Last changed: 2021-10-23 13:10:04