Marla Ahlgrimm on the Link Between Hormones and Depression

Marla AhlgrimmDepression is one of the most common complaints among women, says Marla Ahlgrimm. In fact, across the globe, and despite economic status, race, and social standing, women overwhelmingly experience downturned emotions more often than their male counterparts.

Marla Ahlgrimm explains that women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with psychiatric disorders, including depression, than men. One potential reason for this is that women are often more open to being treated for depressive symptoms. However, women’s bodies experience many more hormonal changes than men, which no doubt contributes to the instances of depression among the fairer sex.

There is much that science still has to learn about the brain and how hormones affect it. One thing that is known, however, is that hormones are dictated by certain brain functions and that many of the same hormones can have a negative influence on the parts of the brain that regulate mood and emotion. An area this is seen is in women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder, PMDD. This group is at a higher risk of depression than those who do not report premenstrual symptoms.

According to Marla Ahlgrimm, there are ways to offset the symptoms of depression. The first, she explains, is to pay attention to your overall health. This will include eating well, spending time with friends and family, and sleeping at least seven hours every night. These actions work together to give the mind and body everything they require to be strong and healthy.

Women who experience long-lasting depression that gets worse during their period may benefit from talking to their doctor about hormonal birth control. Marla Ahlgrimm explains that birth control can be used to help stabilize hormones. The drawback of this, however, is that it is virtually impossible to become pregnant while taking birth control. Marla Ahlgrimm cautions that women who are already depressed may be at a greater risk of postpartum depression and should consult with their healthcare team prior to conception.

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