Depression: Is There a Gender Bias?

Gender Differences in Depression

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.


  1. 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?

    Comment by Leigh Grace — August 26, 2016 @ 6:39 PM

  2. Dear Dr. Amen, I heard that ADD, or ADHD are genetic. It seems to me that there is an increase of this 2 problems in our children now days!

    Comment by Silvana Lowery — March 10, 2018 @ 8:05 PM

  3. Dear Dr. Amen,
    I”m looking for information and help for a relative who is suffering from brain injury, diagnosed as toxic metabolic encephalopathy, and thought to largely be from a.) long term anabolic steroid abuse, b.) a motor-cycle head trauma at at 20 (pt is now 47.), Serotonin syndrom, and cronic anxiety and depression. My loved one needs serious help. We probaly can’t afford your clinice for a Spect Scan, although I think he needs it and treatment to go with it but, what CAN we do?
    Thank you,

    Comment by Kat — July 17, 2018 @ 1:02 PM

  4. Hello Kat, thank you for reaching out. We would love to speak with you more about the circumstance of your relative. We will have a Care Coordinator reach out to you to provide possible treatment options. We do provide referrals to other practices that utilize The Amen Clinics Method as well. If you’d like to reach us, please call 888-288-9834.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — July 17, 2018 @ 4:08 PM

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