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Depression Among Women

Depression is common and treatable. If you think you have depression or postpartum depression, seek treatment from your health care provider as soon as possible.

Depression

Depression is common.
Depression is treatable.
If you think you have depression, make an appointment with your health care provider today.

Everyone experiences occasional sadness, but these feelings usually pass within a few days. Depression, interferes with daily life and may last for weeks at a time. Most people, even those with the most severe forms of depression, can get better with treatment.

image symbolizing one in ten people

Depression is a common and serious illness. National survey data from 2005 through 2009 showed that about one 1 out of 10 women 18-44 years old experienced symptoms of major depression in the past year. 

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is depression that occurs after having a baby. Data from 25 states participating in the 2011 Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System showed that about 1 out of 10 women experienced frequent postpartum depressive symptoms.

Symptoms of Depression

People with depression do not all experience the same symptoms. The severity, frequency, and length of symptoms are different for each person.

Symptoms of depression include

  • Lasting sad, anxious, or empty mood.
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism.
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness.
  • Feelings of irritability or restlessness.
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities.  
  • Loss of energy.
  • Problems concentrating, recalling details, and making decisions.
  • Difficulty falling asleep or sleeping too much.
  • Overeating or loss of appetite.
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts.
  • Aches or pains that do not get better with treatment.

Symptoms of Postpartum Depressionimage of a mother holding a baby and experiencing depression

The symptoms of postpartum depression are similar to symptoms for depression, but may also include

  • Crying more often than usual.
  • Feelings of anger.
  • Withdrawing from loved ones.
  • Feeling numb or disconnected from your baby.
  • Worrying that you will hurt the baby.
  • Feeling guilty about not being a good mom or doubting your ability to care for the baby.

Treatment

Depression is treatable. If you think you may be depressed, talk to your health care provider. See depression treatment to learn about seeking treatment for depression.

Experiences that may put some women at a higher risk for depression include

  • Difficulty getting pregnant.
  • Being a mom to multiples, like twins, or triplets.
  • Losing a baby.
  • Being a teen mom.
  • Preterm (before 37 weeks) labor and delivery.
  • Having a baby with a birth defect or disability.
  • Pregnancy and birth complications.
  • Having a baby or infant hospitalized.

Depression can also occur among women with a healthy pregnancy and birth. If you think you may be depressed, talk to your health care provider.  See depression treatment to learn about seeking treatment for depression.

How Depression Affects Fathers

According to a 2010 study using data from 1993 to 2007, approximately 4% of fathers experience depression in the first year after their child’s birth. By a child’s 12th birthday, about 1 out of 5 fathers will have experienced one or more episodes of depression. Younger fathers, those with a history of depression and experiencing difficulties affording items such as a home or car were most likely to experience depression.

For additional resources on depression or postpartum depression, see Resources.

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