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Shedding Light on Women’s Mental Health

In the United States, mental health conditions are significantly more prevalent among females (27.2%) than among males (18.1%). Some mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, are more common in women.

By the Numbers

  • 2x Women are twice as likely as men to develop depression, anxiety disorders, and PTSD.
  • 3x Women are up to three times more likely than men to develop an eating disorder.
  • 2x Women are twice as likely as men to experience insomnia.
  • > Women are more likely than men to have chronic pain, and are prescribed pain medication at higher rates.

Mental Health Warning Signs

Chronic stress and other mental disorders can affect women differently than men. In women, mental health conditions often manifest as physical symptoms, which can lead to a misdiagnosis. Pay attention to these ‘red flags’—although they can indicate a physical illness, they may also be signs of a mental health issue.

  • Back pains or body aches
  • Frequent headaches
  • Digestive problems
  • Acne or other skin problems
  • Becoming more forgetful than usual
  • Lack of energy
  • Inability to focus
  • Becoming easily angered
  • Overeating or not eating enough
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Withdrawing from friends
  • Misusing drugs or alcohol

Substance Misuse in Women

Because of body composition, sex hormones, and a variety of sociocultural factors, there are also differences in substance misuse among women when compared to men.

  • Women are more likely to become addicted to drugs or alcohol after using smaller amounts of these substances.
  • Women are less likely to misuse alcohol, but more likely to experience harmful health effects from their drinking.
  • Women typically use drugs in smaller amounts and with less frequency, but may experience worse symptoms and stronger cravings.

Taking Care of Your Mental Wellness

Food, sleep, and physical activity all have a direct effect on energy levels and mood—particularly for women. Paying attention to these can help you start feeling better quickly.

  • Get enough sleep.

    Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each night to feel refreshed. (Women who are pregnant may need more than this.)

  • Exercise each day.

    Light to moderate physical activity plays an important role in treating or avoiding depression and anxiety.

  • Eat nutritious food.

    Diets high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can help boost your mood and alleviate symptoms of some mental health conditions.

Remember, consistency is key—the more frequently you can practice these healthy habits, the more likely you are to see the benefits.

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