Do you find that your mood dips frequently as a woman? Have you ever wondered whether it has something to do with your hormones? Can women experience mental health issues more than men?
Women are stereotypically thought of as emotional people. Unfortunately, this may at times overlook any mental health issues they could be experiencing. Although International Women’s Day has passed, it’s still important to address women’s experiences with mental health!
The rest of this article will cover factors that affect women’s mental health, the most common mental health issues they can get, and whether men suffer more.
Factors that affect women’s mental health
Men and women respond to mental health differently. This can be due to the different experiences they’re exposed to, or biological differences. Some of the main factors that affect women’s health are social circumstances or biology.
Something that can affect women’s health is the current political and social climate. Women are often subjected to inequality and certain societal pressures due to the patriarchal society we live in.
This can include a few things, such as wage inequality, misogyny, sexual harassment, or the pressure to look a certain way. Combined with constant social media exposure, this can lead to mental health issues such as anxiety or eating disorders.
Women’s biology is also a significant factor that could worsen their mental health. Oestrogen can provide a preventative role when it comes to mental health issues. Therefore, women who have an oestrogen deficiency can cause their serotonin to decline. This causes mood swings or depression, especially before their period or during menopause.
Women’s menstrual cycle also plays a role. During the pre-menstrual phase, women can experience a mixture of physical symptoms (e.g. cramping) or emotional symptoms (e.g. crying spells or anxiety).
Sometimes, these symptoms can be extremely heightened or uncomfortable for longer periods of time. This can further worsen women’s mental health.
Most common mental health issues that affect women
The World Health Organisation has found that women are twice as likely to develop a mental health issue than men. Some of the mental health issues that women can experience are depression, anxiety, as well as eating disorders.
Women are more prone to depression and anxiety. This can be due to hormone fluctuations, as well as lower levels of serotonin in the body. Women are also exposed to more hormone fluctuations than men. Therefore, symptoms can present themselves in different ways, like mood swings or crying spells.
Women are also more likely to be affected by an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia. Sociocultural aspects as we briefly mentioned before are large contributors. Women can often develop an unhealthy relationship with food, exercise and their bodies. Unfortunately, this is a way of conforming to societal pressures of body appearance and weight.
Do men suffer mental health issues more than women?
Despite the higher probability of women experiencing mental health issues, it’s still important to remember that men are just as likely to develop them.
Similar to women conforming to societal pressures, men also face societal expectations. Men are frequently expected to appear as mentally strong and secure. As a result, this means that they might not be able to be as vocal or in touch with their feelings and thoughts as women are.
Statistics on mental health differences between men and women may not reflect this. Therefore, we can’t discredit the personal struggles some men might be going through.
Women and mental health have a different relationship compared to men. This isn’t necessarily because they’re more “emotional” or “sensitive”. Rather, it can be due to differences in biology and societal experiences.
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