Mental Health Treatment for Women
Woman's Mental Health: Facts and Figures
According to the American Psychiatric Association, 1 in 5 women in the US struggles with mental health disorders such as an eating disorder, depressive disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder. While the rate of mental illness among men and women is similar, there are some differences in the types of conditions. Let’s have an in-depth look at the mental health issues women struggle with, current treatment options, and the stigma that women face.
As per the APA, research has indicated certain disparities between men and women with regard to the risk, manifestation, and prevalence of certain disorders.
For instance, compared to men, women who go through trauma are likelier to develop PTSD. This is due to the fact that women have greater exposure to trauma at a young age, which can have a lasting effect on their mental health.
The National Institute of Health states that the prevalence of major depressive episodes in adult females is around 10.5 percent. Among males, this rate is lower at 6.2 percent. Similarly, the rate of eating disorders, specifically anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, is much higher among women than men.
Why Women Need a Specialized Approach
Men and women go through different experiences, which can have an impact on their mental health. Similarly, there are differences in how women present symptoms.
This makes it crucial for experts to adopt a specialized approach when providing care to women. At URP Behavioral Health, we focus on providing individualized care based on your condition and experiences.
Our experts conduct assessments such as a biopsychological assessment, LOCUS, and psychiatric evaluation to understand your condition. A team of nurses, therapists, physicians, and psychiatrists will develop an individualized treatment plan comprising different therapies according to your needs.
Woman's Mental Health in the United States
A study by the CDC shows that 1 in 10 American women reported symptoms that indicate the occurrence of a major depressive disorder. Moreover, the condition is most likely to affect young adult women and middle-aged women. According to the National Institutes of Health, the rate of depression among women corresponds to their life stage. Therefore, hormonal fluctuations can be a risk factor for depressive symptoms
The rate of anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder, is almost twice as high for women than it is for men. As per the National Institutes of Mental Health, the prevalence of anxiety disorder among women is around 23.4 percent. For men, this is around 14.3 percent.
Twice as many women are at risk of developing PTSD compared to men. This is because they face a higher likelihood of exposure to sexual violence and other forms of trauma at a young age. Statistics by the APA show that the prevalence of PTSD among adult women is between 10 and 12 percent. In men, this falls somewhere between 5 and 6 percent.
Stigma and Issues Surrounding Women’s Mental Health
Although women are more likely to seek professional treatment for their symptoms, there is still some stigma surrounding their mental health. When the presentation of a mental health issue differs, there’s a risk of it going undiagnosed.
Women may struggle with internalized self-stigma, which prevents them from opening up about their struggle out of fear that they’ll seem weak. At URP Behavioral Health, our treatment experts have years of experience in working with women, which allows them to diagnose mental disorders with greater accuracy.
Women's Mental Health Conditions and Symptoms
Some of the most common mental health disorders among women include:
Symptoms include feelings of nervousness, restlessness, and an increased heart rate
Bipolar disorder is defined by a manic and depressive episode. A depressive episode is characterized by low mood, lethargy, and lack of interest. Meanwhile, manic episodes are the opposite, as women may show increased energy and confidence.
Women with a depressive disorder are persistently sad, have feelings of helplessness, and have low energy levels.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder:
If you have PTSD, you may have a habit of being on guard all the time, sudden bouts of aggressive behavior, and a tendency to become frightened easily.
OCD is characterized by persistent obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors that are performed as a response to the thoughts.
Presence of Other Mental Health Conditions (Co-occurring disorders)
Co-occurring disorder refers to the presence of a substance use disorder and mental illness at the same time. Based on the National Survey on Drug Use and Health by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) from 2018, over 4 million women suffer from both a mental illness and substance use disorder.
Together, the conditions can create a self-perpetuating cycle. This creates the need for dual diagnosis, which focuses on reducing your substance abuse habits, as well as therapy to improve your mental health.
Here’s what you can expect from a dual diagnosis program at United Recovery Project:
- Diagnostic assessment and screening
- Psychiatric evaluation
- Group and individual therapy
- Medication management
- Therapy to alleviate mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and other mental illnesses
Reproductive-Related Mental Health Issues in Women
Changes in hormone levels and brain chemistry can increase the risk of poor mental health.
Consequently, women struggle with conditions such as premenstrual syndrome and postpartum depression. It’s also why there are differences in the rate of certain conditions among men and women.
Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that can develop at any age and affects men and women. Nevertheless, there are certain differences in how it manifests.
For example, women may develop the condition later on. Similarly, women may face longer periods of depressive symptoms. Longer phases of depression can make it difficult to diagnose bipolar disorder.
People with bipolar disorder struggle with at least one major depressive episode. A depressive episode is the first sign of bipolar disorder in about 75 percent of women with the condition.
During an episode, you may lose interest in previously enjoyable activities, have trouble concentrating, and feel hopeless.
For a diagnosis, you need to experience an episode of mania as well, which is a period of euphoric mood. During a manic episode, you may have higher energy levels and increased self-esteem, as well as changes in sleep and appetite.
Borderline Personality Disorder
Although men and women are equally likely to develop borderline personality disorder, the prevalence rate is higher among women. This could indicate that women are more likely to seek mental health treatment than their male counterparts. BPD symptoms fall into four categories, namely:
- poor impulse control
- emotional instability
- Intense and unstable interpersonal relationships
- cognitive distortions
If you have BPD, you may have a rigid perception regarding relationships. You may also struggle with difficult emotions such as sorrow, rage, or shame.
Mental Health Treatment for Women
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:
It addresses negative thought patterns as a way to change problematic behaviors.
The professional considers the effect of trauma on the patient’s behavior when providing therapy.
In group therapy, the therapist works with more than one patient at a single time.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy:
This is similar to CBT and is suitable for people who experience intense emotions.
It involves counseling to improve communication between family members.
It’s a tool that uses auditory inputs to help achieve a state of relaxation.
This technique is used to help patients express their emotions and inner conflicts.
Inpatient Mental Health Treatment for Women
Here’s what you can expect during residential treatment for women:
- Psycho-education to build awareness of triggers and coping strategies to live an independent life
- Regular individual and group counseling
- Family therapy to discuss treatment with the resident’s parents or partner
- Evidence-based treatments and non-verbal therapies
- Nutrition education and medication counseling
- Life skill training such as communication, vocational, and anger management
- Educational support to help residents become financially independent
Every week, you’ll undergo about 30 hours of therapy, but the specific therapies in your treatment plan will differ depending on your condition.
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about women's mental health.
Some of the most common mental health issues among women include anxiety disorders, major depression, eating disorders, borderline personality disorder, and bipolar disorder. Although these conditions can affect men as well, the number of reported diagnoses is higher among women.
The existence of a mental health condition can lead to complications during pregnancy and postpartum. For instance, stress can increase the risk of certain health conditions such as preterm delivery or asthma. Meanwhile, conditions like depression can impact the development of the fetus.
Changes in hormone levels during menopause can affect your mental and physical health. Moreover, physical symptoms like exhaustion, insomnia, night sweats, and hot flashes can impact your mental health. Many women report feeling depressed, stressed, or even anxious during menopause. Additionally, you may experience mood changes, low motivation, and problems concentrating on tasks.
Factors that specifically affect women’s mental health include major life events. For instance, going through pregnancy, postpartum, or menopause. Other causes can include environmental or social factors, such as poverty, unemployment, domestic violence, sexual abuse, and discrimination.
Women’s mental health plays a critical role in various aspects of their lives. A mental illness can take a toll on their work performance, personal relationships, and parenting abilities. Moreover, symptoms such as anxiety can also have a negative impact on their physical health. Research shows connections between mental health issues and conditions like heart disease.
Let us guide you towards healing
We know that seeking treatment can be overwhelming, but our staff is here to make the process as smooth as possible. We’re available 24/7 to address any questions or concerns you may have.