woman with mood disorder

6 Warning Signs of Mood Disorders in Women

Posted on February 17th, 2016

Women suffer from mood disorders at greater rates than men. Exactly why this is has not been answered, but we do also know from research that women react differently and sometimes have different symptoms for mood disorders, like depression and anxiety, than men. If you recognize any of these important warning signs in yourself or a woman you care about, take time to consider that you or your loved one might be struggling with a mood disorder, and ask for help.

  1. Avoidance. Men sometimes get aggressive and edgy when struggling with depression. Women, on the other hand, tend to be more withdrawn. If you’re feeling depressed, you might withdraw from others and spend less time socializing. You may not have the energy to do the things you used to do because fatigue is a common symptom of depression. If you’re struggling with an anxiety disorder, you may avoid people and situations out of fear.
  2. Feeling worthless and hopeless. If you have been beating yourself up a lot lately, and someone points out that it isn’t like you to be so down on yourself, you could be going through a depressive period. For women, depression feels like being hopeless. You can’t possibly imagine feeling better. You are also likely to feel worthless and as if people you care about would be better off without you.
  3. Changes in sleep patterns. Mood disorders like depression can also cause physical problems. A big one is related to sleep. Your sleeping patterns may change for no reason that you can determine, like a stressful period at work. You just sleep way more than usual or you struggle to get to sleep or stay asleep. If you have an anxiety disorder, you may find sleeping difficult because your mind is racing.
  4. Difficulty concentrating on tasks. If you have anxiety, your mind may seem active, but when you have to settle down to do one thing, you can’t focus. Your anxious thoughts distract you. Occasional disruption from anxiety is normal, but to feel this way all the time is not. Being depressed can also make concentration difficult. You may also find it difficult to make a decision about anything or to remember even the simplest things.
  5. Excessive negative thoughts. Mood disorders are often characterized by negative thoughts that are not normal. We all experience these thoughts sometimes, but if you are depressed, you may constantly engage in thoughts of self-loathing. If you have anxiety, your mind is constantly concocting worst-case scenarios, even for the most innocent and ordinary of events, like going to the grocery store.
  6. Drop off in performance. Maybe you have noticed that you aren’t performing well at work, or at school if you’re a student. If you play sports or exercise regularly, you may be thinking that you just can’t be bothered and you stop participating. These are clear and important signs that something isn’t right.

If you see any of the warning signs of mood disorders in yourself, ask for help. Talk to your doctor or a close friend or family member. Professional help through medication and counseling can make a huge difference and can get you through these difficult times. If you see these signs in someone you care for, be sure to step in and speak up. You won’t help her by being afraid to say something. Tell her what you’ve noticed and lend your support in getting her the help she needs.

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