How to Understand Women’s Mental Health Challenges 

How to Understand Women's Mental Health Challenges 
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Written by TeamIdentity

Mental Health Challenges are no joke and we’ve got four common mental health issues to prepare you for

Mental disorders affect women and men differently, with certain types more common in women. For example, some women may experience symptoms of mental disorders at times of hormonal change.

Researchers are only now separating the various biological and psychosocial factors that impact women’s mental health. Four common mental health issues women struggle with are substance abuse, disordered eating, postpartum depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Substance Abuse 

Alcoholism or substance abuse is a painful condition in which a person becomes mentally and physically dependent on alcohol or drugs. It is more common in women and can permanently damage internal organs. Women struggling with addiction to alcohol and drugs may also experience co-occurring conditions such as unprocessed trauma, codependency, and relational & attachment disorders.

This is why it is so crucial to find a women only alcohol treatment center that provides treatment services tailored to women’s gender-specific needs. These centers address both the physical effects of alcohol abuse and the psychological conditions that contribute to addiction. 

Disordered Eating

Eating disorders are a group of related conditions involving extreme food and weight issues, but each has unique symptoms and diagnosis criteria. Anorexia nervosa is the most common food-related disorder and affects more women than men. Bulimia nervosa is another well-known eating disorder that tends to develop during adolescence and early adulthood and appears to be more prevalent in women than men.

Binge eating disorder is the most prevalent eating disorder and one of the most common chronic illnesses among adolescents. Individuals with a binge eating disorder typically eat unusually large amounts of food in relatively short periods of time. They feel out of control during binges. They also purge to compensate for the calories consumed and relieve gut discomfort.

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression (commonly known as PPD) is the most prevalent problem for women who have just given birth, affecting up to one in seven women. Symptoms include losing interest in activities that we normally enjoy, feeling tired all the time, eating a lot more or a lot less than usual, gaining or losing weight, having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much, having difficulty concentrating or making decisions, having difficulty bonding with our baby, thinking about hurting ourselves or our baby, and thinking about suicide.

At our postpartum care appointments, our healthcare professional will screen for PPD. If tests indicate that we have PPD or are at risk of PPD, our physician can help us obtain treatment.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 

Women don’t always think about mental health challenges like PTSD. While PTSD is often associated with soldiers many things can cause it. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) develops in people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. Most people recover from initial symptoms naturally, but those who continue to experience problems may be diagnosed with PTSD.

Symptoms usually begin within 3 months of the traumatic incident. They must last more than a month and interfere with relationships or work to be considered PTSD. A doctor who helps people with mental illnesses can diagnose PTSD.

How Do Women Talk About Mental Health? 

Women face a wide range of expectations that negatively impact their mental health. We often feel like we need to lean in and do everything, but we don’t talk about these struggles. We need to process our mental health. It is also worthwhile to determine if we suffer from depression or high anxiety levels.

We often struggle to prioritize our mental health while busy with family, work, or personal projects. We will be glad to learn that there are many options to boost our emotional wellness, such as yoga or meditation. 

Mental health is critical for all women, and it is helpful to talk to others about our personal struggles. We can start the conversation with a close friend or someone else we trust. We could take someone out to discuss mental health over coffee. We could also talk about mental health in our social media posts, blogs, and podcasts.

There are many ways to keep conversations around mental health ongoing. Often, when we are open to our own struggles, we meet others who share similar experiences. Often these people are willing to support us when we are in a difficult season.

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