How Depression Affects Women Differently Than Men

When it comes to depression, men and women are certainly not created equal. While both genders battle depression and are seriously affected by it, the signs and symptoms different between the two. Luckily, there are places like the New River Wellness Center to help women who are struggling with depression.


Brought to you by New River Wellness Center

Women Respond Differently to Stressful Events

It’s more common for a woman to become depressed following a stressful event than for a man. Studies suggest that women respond in a particular way to stressful life events (losing a job, a death in the family) in ways that extend their stressful feelings. It’s possible that this is due to a woman’s biology, including mood-regulators and reproductive hormones.

Women Ruminate More Than Men

Ruminating – dwelling on negative feelings and rehashing them over and over – happens more in women with depression than in men. Self-blame, crying for “no” reason, and poor self-talk are common signs of rumination. While rumination makes depression worse, men with depression tend to distract themselves, which helps alleviate the pain.

Women’s Depression is Easier to Recognize

Women are more vulnerable to depression due to biology. When it comes to men who are depressed, it often goes unnoticed. This can lead to a more severe case of depression because it’s not treated. Men tend to suppress their depression-associated thoughts and feelings more than women do.

Women Are Less Likely to Commit Suicide

Studies have shown that depression in men can go unnoticed and untreated for a long time, longer than with women. This sometimes causes a more severe mental health problem, which leads to a higher suicide rate in men than in women.

Women Are More Likely to Have an Eating Disorder When Depressed

In women, eating disorders and depression often travel together. Often, depression shows up when a woman is struggling with an anxiety disorder. Panic disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorders often go hand-in-hand with eating disorders.

Substance Use in Men vs. Women

Men are more prone to self-medicating with alcohol or other substances, particularly teens. This usually occurs before depression sets in. Women, on the other hand, tend to turn to substances only after depression occurs.

While there’s not a lot of research on it yet, it seems that men and women may respond differently to anti-depressants, too. For more information about treating depression, visit

15 comments for “How Depression Affects Women Differently Than Men

  1. January 31, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    I suffered with depression in my past. I can be really difficult.

  2. Sarah Phillips
    January 31, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    This article couldn’t be any more accurate. I’ve suffered from depression for as long as I can remember. I also have an anxiety disorder, OCD, and an eating disorder as well. Rehashing negative events and harmful thoughts is an everyday struggle.

    Thanks for sharing this…more people need to be educated about depression and other mental health issues.

  3. Traci U
    February 1, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    Depression sucks…i was diagnosed with it about 2 yrs ago, about 1 1/2 yrs after i was diagnosed with lupus, fibro & a whole heckuva lot of things…but i just take it one day at a time & try not to let the “little” things get to me because if i don’t i’ll end up stressing over everything & then get in what i call my “total depressive mode so don’t mess with me or somebody might get hurt” & that’s never a good thing. But this article pretty much sums up the last almost 4ish yrs of my life.

    • February 1, 2016 at 6:48 pm

      Hang in there Traci. I’m glad to hear you are taking things one day at a time. Lots of hugs and prayers for you to continue succeeding in your struggles.

  4. February 1, 2016 at 11:20 pm

    Interesting info about the differences. I dealt w/ it myself after I was diagnosed w/ MS (not so much about the diagnosis, but the pain really triggered it) and it can be a nightmare.

  5. Vicki Fischer
    February 4, 2016 at 10:36 am

    depression is difficult – keep fighting!

  6. suzanne
    February 4, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    Yes there are differences in Depression between men and women, but I imagine the hell of existing with it is the same. It is also somewhat different from person to person. I do tend to worry for men, because they aren’t as apt to talk about it and seek help. I was struck by it 25 years ago and have never been able to get free of it, mine is treatment resistant. But on the bright side, most people can be successfully treated with psychotherapy and medications, or ECT, VNS, TMS, DBS….

    • February 5, 2016 at 8:45 am

      So sorry you have had to struggle with this for so long. Thank you for sharing your experience and advice.

  7. GillisHills
    February 5, 2016 at 2:41 am

    I can relate to much of this information. Thanks for sharing!

  8. February 6, 2016 at 11:06 am

    i had to deal with depression when i got a divorce….but i got over it
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  9. ANN*H
    February 7, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    Very good article on depression. I really never thought it thru about men and woman suffering differently. Men do tend to try and drink it away- which never works. It is something we heard more about now a days with the way economy and the worlds troubles. Thanks for the information. We need to be more open about this issue that effects so many of us today.

  10. Nancy Burgess
    February 16, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    Very informative article thanks for sharing.

  11. Rosie
    February 22, 2016 at 11:59 am

    wow I didn’t know any of this, good information!

  12. Becky Richardson
    February 25, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    I have been depressed off and on for years. It really sucks.

  13. Ronald Gagnon
    February 28, 2016 at 7:17 am

    I have suffered from depression (Bi-Polar) for many years..too many untreated, and I certainly agree with your statement ” When it comes to men who are depressed, it often goes unnoticed. This can lead to a more severe case of depression because it’s not treated. Men tend to suppress their depression-associated thoughts and feelings more than women do.”

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