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Depression

  • By: Tracy R. Nichols
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Depression, as a mental health disorder, is defined as persistent feelings of sadness that interfere with daily functioning. Depression is a continuum of mood disorders that include major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, psychotic depression, postpartum depression, and seasonal affective disorder. A related disorder, biopolar disorder, includes extreme mood swings that cycle from depressive to maniac states. Females outnumber males in major depressive disorders at a ratio of 2:1 during a woman's childbearing years. However, both prior to puberty and after menopause, rates of depressive disorders between males and females are similar.

Symptoms of depression can range from mild to severe, and not all women experience the same depressive symptoms. Symptoms can consist of persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, and/or being “empty” as well as feelings of ...

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