Girlfriends Fight Depression
June 25, 2004 — Depressed women are much more likely to discuss their problems with their girlfriends rather than talking to a doctor about them, according to a new survey.
The survey shows that most women (62%) who have ever experienced symptoms of depression, such as feeling sad, stressed, or anxious, talked to their girlfriends about these issues, but nearly three-fourths of them did not talk to a doctor about it.
Researchers say those findings show that women should learn to recognize when their friends might be in trouble and suffering from depression and help them seek professional advice.
Depression is twice as common in women as in men. It’s normal to feel sad or anxious from time to time, but clinical depression (known by doctors as major depression) occurs when depression symptoms, including sadness, loss of enjoyment in things that were once pleasurable, and loss of energy, last more than two weeks. These symptoms are often severe enough that they prevent a person from going about their normal daily life.
Girlfriends May Help Women Fight Depression
In the survey of more than 1,000 women in the U.S., researchers found that 70% of women said they felt depressed, stressed, anxious, or sad in the past year, but only about a third of women talked to their doctor about these symptoms of depression. Pfizer Inc., manufacturers of the antidepressant Zoloft, co-sponsored the survey.
About half of the women surveyed said they feel extremely comfortable talking about mental health issues with their closest girlfriends.
However, more women said they were comfortable about talking about other health issues with their girlfriends, such as weigh gain, osteoporosis, smoking or alcohol use, and menstruation.
“Women understand how they can feel better through conversations with a trusted girlfriend,” says Vicki Iovine, author of Girlfriends’ Guides, in a news release. “But we need to learn how to recognize a girlfriend who is in crisis, and how to support her in getting help, as recognition can often be the first step on the road to recovery.”
Iovine has teamed up with Pfizer Inc., and the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Mental Health to create “Girlfriends for Life: Helping Each Other Stay Healthy” to raise awareness about recognizing the signs and symptoms of depression in women.