Mental health problems in Women: Are they important?

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Mental health problems in Women
Mental health problems in Women

Mental health problems in Women

  • Gender is a significant determinant of mental fitness and mental wellbeing.
  • In women lifetime occurrence rates for any kind of mental health problems affect, nearly half of the population.
  • Even though being so frequent, mental health problems in women is under diagnosed by clinicians.
  • Less than half of those, who meet diagnostic criteria for mental health problems in women are recognized by doctors.
  • Female patients, too, show reluctant to search for expert help. Only 2 in every 5 people experiencing a mood, anxiety or substance use disorder, looking for help in the year of the start of the illness.
  • In general, rates of psychiatric illness are approximately equal for men and women but remarkable gender differences are set up in the patterns of these diseases.
  • Gender differences happen predominantly in the rates of familiar mental disorders – depression, anxiety and somatic complaints.
  • These disorders, in which women prevail influence about 1 in 3 people in the community and represent a serious public health problem.
  • Unipolar depression, predicted to be the second important reason of universal disability burden by 2020, is twice as frequent in women.
  • Depression is not only the most universal women’s mental health problem but may be further persistent in women than men.
  • Dropping the over-representation of women, who are depressed would add considerably, to decrease the global burden of disability caused by mental health problems.
  • The lifetime occurrence rate for alcohol dependence, one more common disorder, is more than twice as prominent in men than women.
  • In developed countries, roughly 1 in 5 men and 1 in 12 women develop alcohol dependence throughout their lives.
  • Men are also more than three times more, likely to be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder than women.
  • There are no obvious gender differences in the rates of severe mental disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder that have an effect on less than 2% of the population.
  • Gender differences have been reported in age of commencement of symptoms, occurrence of psychotic symptoms, course of these disorders, social alteration and long term outcome.
  • The disability related with mental illness falls most deeply on those who experience three or more comorbid disorders. Yet again women outweigh men.
Mental health problems in Women
Mental health problems in Women

Risk factors

 Depression, anxiety, somatic symptoms and high rates of co-morbidity are notably interconnected.

  • They are usually associated with co-occurrent risk factors such as gender based roles, stressors and negative life experiences and measures.
  • Gender specific risk factors for universal mental disorders that unreasonably have an effect on women include gender based violence, socioeconomic drawback, low income and income disparity, low or inferior social status and rank and continuous responsibility for the care of others.
  • The high frequency of sexual violence to which women are exposed and the in the same way high rate of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following such violence, renders women the major single group of people affected by this disorder.
  • The mental health blow of long term, growing psychosocial adversity has not been effectively investigated.
  • Financial and public policies that cause sudden, troublesome and strict changes to income, employment and social capital that cannot be prohibited or avoided, drastically increase gender inequality and the rate of common mental disorders.

Gender bias in management of Mental health problems in Women


  • Gender bias occurs in the management of mental health related problems in female patients.
  • Doctors are more expected to diagnose depression in women compared with men, even when they have parallel scores on identical measures of depression or present with equal symptoms.
  • Female gender is a important predictor of being prescribed mood changing psychotropic drugs.
  • Gender differences continue living in patterns of help, in search of  psychological disorder.
  • Women are more expected to seek help from and reveal mental health problems to their primary health care physician while men are more likely to look for specialist mental health care and are the major users of inpatient care.
  • Men are more likely than women to reveal problems with alcohol use to their health care giver.
  • Gender stereotypes about proneness to affecting problems in women and alcohol problems in men, emerge to emphasize social stigma and confine help seeking along conventional lines.
  •  They are a barrier to the precise identification and cure of psychological disorder.
  • Regardless of these differences, most women and men experiencing emotional distress and  psychological disorder are neither recognized or treated by their doctor.
  • Violence associated mental health problems in women   are also feebly identified. Women are hesitant to reveal a history of violent victimization unless physicians inquire about it directly.
  • The difficulty of violence related health outcomes increases when victimization is unnoticed and results in high and costly rates of consumption of the health and mental health care system.


Mental health problems in Women

Facts about Women’s mental health

  • Depressive illness account for nearly 41.9% of the disability from neuropsychiatric disorders among women compared to 29.3% among men.
  • Top mental health problems of the older adults are depression, organic brain syndromes and dementias. A greater part are women.
  • An expected 80% of 50 million community affected by violent conflicts, civil wars, disasters, and displacement are women and children.
  • Lifetime occurrence rate of violence against women ranges from 16% to 50%.
  • At least one in five women suffer rape or attempted rape in their lifetime.
  • Depression, anxiety, psychological distress, sexual violence, domestic violence and growing rates of substance use influence women to a larger extent than men across different countries and diverse settings.
  • Pressures formed by their multiple roles, gender discrimination and related factors of poverty, hunger, malnutrition, overwork, domestic violence and sexual abuse, unite to account for women’s unfortunate mental health.
  • There is a positive relationship between the incidence and severity of such social factors and the incidence and severity of mental health problems in women.
  • Rigorous life events that cause a sense of loss, inadequacy, dishonor or entrapment can forecast depression.
  • Up to 20% of those attending primary health care in developing countries bear from anxiety and/or depressive disorders.
  • In most centres, these patients are not acknowledged and therefore not treated.
  • Communication between health workers and women patients is enormously dictatorial in many countries, making a woman’s disclosure of psychological and emotional suffering difficult, and repeatedly stigmatized.
  • When women provoke to disclose their problems, many health workers have a propensity to have gender biases which guide them to either over-treat or under-treat women.

WHO’s focus on Women’s Mental Health

  • Make evidence on the prevalence and causes of mental health troubles in women as well as on the mediating and protective factors.
  • Encourage the formulation and execution of health policies that speak to women’s needs and concerns from childhood to old age.
  • Develop the capability of primary health care providers to identify and treat mental health consequences of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and acute and chronic stress in women.

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