According to statistics, it is much more likely for women to suffer from depression than men.
We know that:
- the rate of depression in women doubles at the age of 13, from 4 to 8%;
- this rate doubles again from 8% to 16% when women are pregnant;
- and that on average, 4% of men and 16% of women have depression – a staggering difference!
At this stage, research has not identified a solid connection with hormones; the fact is, we really don’t know. This phenomenon is not isolated to Australia; it is an international occurrence.
After extensive reading on the topic, I’ve decided that the change in depression rates is caused by social role changes.
It makes sense that at age 13, most girls start to look older and succumb to identifying with the “must have” womanly body image, expectations about being relationship focused (ie caring) and peer relationships.
This same event happens at the beginning of pregnancy. Significant changes in body image and the expectations of others, can be very difficult to accommodate when women are already dealing with all the physical aspects of pregnancy!
In my role as a psychologist I particularly enjoy working with women to discover which expectations and social rules are making life unbearable, and to help them develop skills to weather the changes that occur.
It is surprisingly less about a women’s thoughts, but others’ thoughts that are the issue. Lots of changes have to be made as a teenager turning into a woman; and as a woman turning into mother.
If you are struggling to parent teenage girls, or you have planning to have a baby and feel this could be affecting you, please book in one session and we can review the risk factors together and I can suggest a few tricks that will help you with the changes.
If you are experiencing depression already, then we might take a couple more sessions to try strategies to help you recover. If you are expecting a baby, counselling would be the first option and has been proven to be very effective – and infinitely preferable to taking medication while you are pregnant.
Author: Vivian Jarrett, B Psych (hons), AMAPS, MAICD.
Vivian Jarrett is the Clinic Director at Vision Psychology in Mt Gravatt and now M1 Psychology at Loganholme. She is passionate about providing high quality psychology services to Australians from all walks of life.
To make an appointment with Vivian, please visit her online booking calendar.