Men And Women React Differently To Depression

Men And Women React Differently To Depression

The brains of men and women react very differently to depression – and this may mean that each sex should receive different drug treatments, research suggests.

Depression is twice as common in women than men but men are more likely to take their own lives.

Now in a study of depressed teenagers and young adults, researchers have found that male and female brains of depressed patients respond differently to negative stimuli. The findings, it is hoped, could lead to drug treatments for depression that recognise the difference in reaction between boys’ and girls’ brains.

The University of Cambridge study said that by the age of 15, girls are twice as likely to suffer from serious depression as boys. The greater incidence of depression in women has been linked to body image issues, hormone fluctuations and even genetics – with research showing girls are more likely to inherit the condition.

But while major depression is more common in girls, boys are more likely to commit suicide or resort to substance abuse than girls as depression in females tends to be more episodic, the researchers said.

Last year a Department for Education study of 14-year-olds found 37 per cent of girls reported feeling unhappy, worthless or unable to concentrate, more than twice the percentage of boys, 15 per cent, reporting the same feelings. The figure for girls had risen four percentage points since 2005, while the figure for boys has slightly fallen.

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