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Women’s Mental Health

Why is women’s mental health important?

Mental disorders can affect women and men differently. Some disorders are more common in women, such as depressionanxiety, and eating disorders. There are also certain disorders that are unique to women. For example, some women experience symptoms of depression at times of hormone change, such as during or after pregnancy (perinatal depression), around the time of their period (premenstrual dysphoric disorder), and during menopause (perimenopause-related depression).

When it comes to other mental disorders, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, research has not found sex differences in the rates at which they are diagnosed. But certain symptoms may be more common in women than men, and the course of illness can be affected by a person’s sex. Researchers are only now beginning to tease apart the various biological and psychosocial factors that may impact mental health.

Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Learn more about taking care of your mental health.

What are symptoms of mental disorders in women?

Women and men can develop most of the same mental disorders and conditions, but they may experience different symptoms. Some common symptoms include:

  • Persistent sadness or feelings of hopelessness
  • Noticeable changes in mood, energy level, or appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Misuse of alcohol, drugs, or both
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Excessive fear or worry
  • Seeing or hearing things that are not there
  • Extremely high and low moods
  • Aches, headaches, or digestive problems without a clear cause
  • Anger or irritability
  • Social withdrawal
  • Thoughts or behaviors that interfere with work, family, or social life
  • Thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts

Mental disorders can be treated: If you are unsure where to go for help, ask a health care provider or visit NIMH’s Help for Mental Illnesses webpage. Communicating well with a health care provider can improve your care and help you both make good choices about your health. Read about tips to help prepare and get the most out of your visit. For additional resources, including questions to ask a health care provider, visit the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality .