You are on page 1of 6

Acosta, Samantha Language Arts Period 3 Ms.

. Morales 5/31/11 Since the beginning of man, there has always been one communal question that remains quite a mystery to us all; who has it easier, men or women? Well, there is no simple answer to this question, as it is probably the most controversial of topics among society today. However, there is ample amount of support you can propose for either side, no matter what area of the spectrum you tackle. When it comes to issues like manic depression, or low self-esteem, people assume women feel it more-so, as opposed to men. Their assumption proves to be correct in various studies, and seems to be a renowned fact of todays role of society. Depression is a common problem among our people today; sometimes, it may seem that is spreads like a disease, tangling its victims in a web so wide it stretches half-way across the world. The direct root of the causes of depression remains unknown, even though science has been very well-versed in its symptoms. Its like the common cold; everyone gets it, but there is no substantial cure. Depression can be caused by various things; low self-esteem, divorce, death in the family, loss of a job, traumatic childhood events, drug or alcohol abuse, and abuse/neglect (Berger par. 6), among many others. The symptoms are quite obvious in their wake, as well. They include easy agitation or irritability, dramatic changes in appetite, difficulty with concentration, and the more commonly seen symptom of extreme fatigue and utter lack of over-all energy. (Berger par. 8) Victims of

Acosta 2 depression are often turned to medication to help calm their symptoms, however severe they may seem. In America alone, the most recent statistic of depression has made its stand at a rate of 18.8 million people affected by its grasp today. Out of that bunch, approximately 12 million women have been declared clinically depressed. (Murray par. 2) Recent studies have shown that the rate of depression in men has only been about half that of the women. Although the rate of actual suicide attempts in men is three times larger than in women (Depression par. 6) , other studies have proven that women have prolonged exposure to their symptoms, and experience them more often; as opposed to men, who try to seek professional help. In Linda Baileys study, entitled Todays Women and Depression, she states that, Women are more susceptible to depression than ever before. (1) She goes on to describe that the common symptoms in many women (such as poor appetite and spontaneous weight loss/gain) are present nearly every day for a period of at least two weeks. (Bailey 1) Societys fast pace and high demands regulate everyone these days, and seems to be presenting major problems for some of us even more than they used to, as supported by these statistics. Although the symptoms of depression among both men and women are generally the same, the causes are not always so akin. Women are twice as likely as men to suffer from depression (Smith par. 8), for various

Acosta 3 reasons. The most common reason would be the menstrual cycle (as both women and men know very well). The menstrual cycle can cause multiple symptoms of depression in women sporadically; it causes hormones to increase, and of course, cause an emotional wreck to occur soon after. Luckily enough for men, they dont experience these changes, like women periodically do. Another high factor of depression among women includes pregnancy, which men also do not experience for themselves. During pregnancy, women can undergo severe stress and constant pain, not to mention the emotional crisis of being larger than normal, and experiencing limited comfort. The younger you are while you are pregnant can also place women at a high risk of developing depression during pregnancy. Women can also experience episodes of prolonged depression after pregnancy, which in medical terms, is perceived as Postpartum depression. Besides the biological causes of depression in women, there are also multiple social and cultural causes as well. The role of women in society has always been a misconstrued and highly publicized topic. The role strain that women experience can cause severe depression in many cases. As Melinda Smith states in her article, The more roles a woman is expected to play (mother, wife, working woman), the more vulnerable she is to role strain and subsequent stress and depression. Depression is more common in women who receive little help with housework and child care. (Par. 13) This also causes problems with unequal positions of power within a household, which

Acosta 4 can also cause self-esteem issues among women. Many recent studies have shown that physical and sexual abuse has been a more commonly recurring crime. These cases are more common with women, where they are sexually harassed at work, or physically abused at home. One major problem among society, to this day, is the issue with body image. Many women (more common in younger women) have issues with their own bodies, which lead to social isolation and self-loathing. Other common social factors are relationship dissatisfaction, and poverty, which is more common in women than in men. Though both men and women are proved to be reluctant, or otherwise embarrassed to seek help for their symptoms, women are more likely to experience episodes of crying, and talking to others about their depression, instead of looking for professional help; this, in due time, makes their condition worse. (Smith par. 18) Smith also states that men, on the other hand, have been shown to suppress their emotions, and attempt to distract themselves from the depression, as opposed to using coping mechanisms. (Par. 18) Stress response is also a common factor among women. Various studies have proven that women can become easily depressed under low levels of stress, due to the excess stress hormones that women produce, as opposed to men. According to Smith, Furthermore, the female physiological response to stress is different...the female sex hormone progesterone

Acosta 5 prevents the stress hormone system from turning itself off as it does in men. (Par. 19) Although the battles of the sexes will remain a constant quarrel among us all, there will always be enough proof to say that the women definitely have it harder. Not only are we discriminated against, and have to deal with menstrual cycles and pregnancies (not to mention mood swings, cramps, and a plethora of other things), we also have to deal with men, who are problems of their very own. At the end of the day, however, it doesnt really matter who may feel it worse; the real problem is that a lot of us suffer from depression. Both men and women go to great lengths to keep their emotions balanced. Women just have a harder time doing so, and sometimes we need to be reminded that all women are truly heroes for everything that they go through.

Acosta 6

Works Cited Page Depression Statistics. Lumosity. 9 May 2011. <http://www.indepression.com/depression-statistics.html>. Pregnancy and Depression. Web MD. Ed. Nihira, Mikio. 7 Mar. 2010. 26 May 2011. < http://www.webmd.com/baby/pregnancy-depression>. Bailey, Linda. Todays Women and Depression. Jstor. 8 May 2011. <http://www.jstor.org/pss/27505715>. Berger, Paul. Major Depression. PubMed Health. Ed. Zieve, David. 4 May 2011. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001941/>. Murray, Bob and Alicia Fortinberry. Depression Facts and Stats. Uplift Program. 15 Jan. 2005. 26 May 2011. <http://www.upliftprogram.com/depression_facts.html>. Smith, Melinda and Jaelline Jaffe. Depression In Women. Helpguide. Ed. Segal, Jeanne. Nov. 2010. 26 May 2011. <http://www.helpguide.org/mental/depression_women.htm>.