Are there differences between men and women in depression? The answer is yes and no! That’s because the similarities are much greater than the differences.
Sadness and lack of pleasure are the core symptoms of depression – and they are present in both sexes in depression. From an epidemiology standpoint, there are more women with depression than men. Most individuals with depression also experience anxiety. However, anxiety disorders, are more common in women than in men. The majority who struggle with an anxiety disorder, are at risk for developing depression over time. Some studies suggest that the greater prevalence of depression in women is because of the greater prevalence of anxiety. That’s because if you look at the prevalence of depression without an anxiety disorder, their prevalence is equal among the sexes.
What about the issue of suicide? More women have suicidal behaviors than men, however, the number of completed suicides is greater in men. This is a complex issue – it may be that the means used by men are more lethal. Most importantly, if you have suicidal thoughts, please seek professional help right away.
Treatments for depression have the same degree of benefit in men and women. This is true in terms of both the proportion who get benefit as well as the degree of benefit. So, receiving treatment for depression is important.