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Depression: Is There a Gender Bias?


The experience of anxiety and depression is similar for men and women in many ways.

Fifty percent of those who experience an episode of anxiety and depression will have another episode within five years, and many will develop chronic relapsing forms of the disorder. In that case, being male or female doesn’t change the risk. Men and women with anxiety disorders or depression also share the tendency to have complicated, or comorbid, conditions. The risk of suicide and suicide attempts is higher for both depressed men and women.

There are a few differences in the course and experience of depression and anxiety that may be gender-related.

  • Women are more likely to have more rapid cycling mood disturbances.
  • Men usually have higher rates of substance abuse and alcoholism as comorbid conditions. An interesting exception is that young women with rapid cycling mood conditions also have high rates of alcohol abuse.
  • Women make more suicide attempts but men usually complete suicide more often. There are growing reports, however, that because women are using increasingly violent methods, their suicide rate is increasing.
  • Women may also have a tendency to have more atypical symptoms of depression, such as weight gain, increased appetite, and excessive sleep.

The most impressive difference between men and women becomes apparent at puberty. In childhood, the rates of anxiety and depression are similar for boys and girls. This begins to change as children reach adolescence. The rate of depression and anxiety among girls begins to rise at puberty and accelerates through the teenage years. Women are diagnosed with anxiety and depression far more commonly than men. Some studies indicate that as many as 15-20% of women may be suffering from depression.

Amen Clinics specializes in the personalized diagnosis of anxiety and depression. Often, there are underlying reasons or brain trauma that need to be realized and treated. Get more information on the Amen Clinics Method regarding depression by calling 888-288-9834 or schedule a visit today.

One thought on “Depression: Is There a Gender Bias?”

  1. Leigh Grace says:

    Dr. Amen, What are your thoughts on appropriately diagnosed PMDD? Marked sensitivity to Progesterone during the Luteal Phase, cost me my marriage, my sweet little girl, my profession..multiple hospitalizations, severe SI, 12 rounds of ECT, and eventual homelessness…It took over 20 years to figure out this piece of my emotional health and reformulate a treatment plan. Do you think a SPECT Scan would have played a role in diagnosis?

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