Common Mental Health Problems for Women 419
Although there are many kinds of mental health problems,
the most common ones are anxiety, depression, and misuse
of alcohol or drugs. In most communities, women suffer from
anxiety and depression more than men do. But men are more
likely than women to have a problem misusing alcohol or drugs.
To decide whether someone has a mental health problem,
keep the following things in mind:
• There is no clear line between normal responses to life’s
events and mental health problems.
• Most people have some of the signs listed below at
different times in their lives, because everyone faces
problems at one time or another.
• Signs of mental health problems can vary from community
to community. Behavior that looks strange to an outsider
may be a normal part of a community’s traditions or values.
Depression (extreme sadness
or feeling nothing at all)
It is natural for a person to feel
depressed when she experiences a loss
or death. But she may have a mental
health problem if the signs below last
for a long time.
• feeling sad most of the time
• difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
• difficulty thinking clearly
• loss of interest in pleasurable activities, eating, or sex
• physical problems, such as headaches or intestinal
problems, that are not caused by illness
• slow speech and movement
• lack of energy for daily activities
• thinking about death or suicide
➤ For information
about treating mental
health problems, see
➤ Some people call
of heart’ or ‘loss of
spirit or soul’.
Serious depression can lead to suicide (killing oneself). Almost everyone has
thoughts of suicide once in a while. But if these thoughts come more and more
often or get very strong, a woman needs help right away. See page 431 for how
to identify people who are most at risk for suicide and how to help them.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012