4 Common Depressive Disorders In Women

3 minutes

In this post, we talk about the common depressive disorders women are susceptible to.


Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Do you feel depressed and anxious every time before your monthly cycles? This is called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PDD). It is a depressive disorder caused due the changes in chemicals of the brain and hormones of the body during ovulation in a woman.

The characteristic feature of PDD is extreme moodiness, anxiety, sadness and/or anger. Women with PDD may also experience other symptoms of premenstrual syndrome such as bloating and chest tenderness.

Doctors have reason to believe that PDD is genetic and women who have family members suffering from PDD are more susceptible to it.

In order to be diagnosed with PDD, a woman must exhibit at least 5 of the following symptoms after ovulation each month. However, it is also important to note that, she must have ‘normal’ days during each cycle where she experiences none of these symptoms.

The symptoms include:

  • Extreme depression, feeling a loss of control and hopelessness and self-deprecating thoughts
  • Feeling very emotional such as being sad and tearful over small rejections
  • Irritability, short temper, and interpersonal rubs
  • Loss of interest in everyday activities
  • Difficulty in concentration
  • Laziness, easily tired and a distinctive loss in energy
  • Overeating or craving for certain foods
  • Insomnia or sleeping excessively

Women diagnosed with PDD can expect to be put on anti-depressants and undergo behavioral therapy. A healthy diet and sufficient exercise also contribute to keeping PDD at bay.

Depression during pregnancy

The medication that is subscribed to a woman suffering from depression varies depending on whether she wants to conceive or is pregnant. There are some of the school of thought that medication may pass through the placenta and hence discourage medication for depression during pregnancy. However, this is yet to be proved.

Postpartum depression

Postpartum depression must be distinguished from baby blues which affects most mothers post pregnancy. Baby blues are when a woman feels low and listless a few days after delivery. The important feature of baby blues is that these feelings of sadness and inadequacy do not last for more than 2 weeks. If they persist for more than 2 weeks, it is called postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression is caused by changes in the chemical nature of the brain and body (reduced levels of estrogen and progesterone), due to pregnancy and delivery.

The symptoms of postpartum depression are similar to those enumerated above for PDD. It is usually treated with a combination of medication and therapy.

Depression during menopause

While some instances of hot flashes and weight gain are common during menopause, it could become major depression in few women. The changes in the hormones secreted are what cause this moodiness and depression in women during menopause.

Along with the primary symptoms of a low mood and losing interest in activities once found pleasurable, other symptoms include,

  • Feeling tired and fatigued
  • Suicidal thoughts and obsessing about death
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Lack of concentration and memory loss
  • Feelings of inadequacy
  • Restlessness

Along with or maybe even without medication, behavioral therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy is highly recommended for women with depression during menopause.

If you, or anyone you know, suffers from any of the above conditions – talk to experts at YourDOST and avail help and support immediately!

Sushma Hebbar

Sushma Hebbar is a Senior Psychologist at YourDOST. She is an experienced career psychologist with a Master's in Clinical Psychology. She has worked with clients of different age groups, dealing with a wide variety of psychosocial & life adjustment problems that people face in their everyday lives. She has an extensive experience of dealing with career confusions, academic issues, relationship issues, exam stress and skill development. She worked as a facilitator and trained children for the development of Higher Order Thinking Skills. During her internship at All India Institute of Speech and Hearing at Mysore, she worked with children having ADHD, Learning disability and even those who were intellectually disbaled and suffered from Down syndrome. Her belief is that every individual is unique and has the right to be happy, which clearly goes on to show her liberal mindset.