Breaking completely unsurprising news.. Men and women express different symptoms of depression according to a study from Cardiff.
But there are some interesting points that I wasn’t aware of. The breakdown of the symptoms is quite interesting. According to the study
‘Female patients reported certain depressive symptoms more often than men, namely diminished libido (62% vs 35%) excessive sleep (19% vs 10%) self reproach (96% vs 87%), and diurnal variation (46% vs 32%).’
There don’t seem to be any symptoms listed though that men suffer more from than women.I’d be interested though to know if there are any symptoms that men express more than women.
Perhaps I’m not reading this correctly, and I’m certainly no academic, but does this mean that women just suffer from more of everything in relation to depression?
There is a higher propensity to depression in women. That is fact. There are more women who suffer from and seek help with depression during their lifetime and many arguments, discourses and studies including ones here and here.
I’m no medic either and certainly not one to fly in the face of scientific evidence, but instinctively, it seems that our society is more able to accept the model of female depression. It fits into a stereotype very easily. Would that mean that doctors are more likely to prescribe anti-depressants to women? Well, without actually conducting any research I can’t say, but a quick search on the subject (Google is a wonder resource!) seems to indicate that
More women are prescribed anti-depressants than men as noted by the WHO who say
‘Female gender is a significant predictor of being prescribed mood altering psychotropic drugs.’
Of course, the first point would come as no great surprise if more women are actually suffering from depression (which is, I think, undeniable) – it makes sense that they are assisted pharmacologically, if that is what’s needed, of course – and more women are diagnosed with depression after all.
The second study though, if anything was more interesting in that female GPs were more likely to favour talking therapies.
Perhaps we have become more used to self-diagnosis and are asking GPs for particular medications, as The Times highlighted last year saying
‘Research on doctors’ habits also revealed that many felt they were prescribing the drugs too often, but did so because patients wanted medication. They said that funding was often not sufficient for alternative behavioural therapies and other counselling treatments, despite NICE guidance that they can be as effective as antidepressants for those with mild to moderate depression.’
So funnily enough it leads back to funding.
The likelihood of male GPs to prescribe more than female GPs remains a little baffling in the light of this discourse. Perhaps some female GPs have more sensitivity to the subject. Perhaps, became in general, women are more likely to want to talk about feelings, they can transfer some of this approach to their patients.
Or are women with depression more likely to want to talk to a female GP about their problems in the first instance so female GPs take some of the initial consultations when the depression is less severe?
I don’t know really, but I’d be interested in more information about that study. There must have been some more answers and reasons offered than just gender.