Tag: depression in women
In 1959, my mother suffered what people referred to as a nervous breakdown after my sister’s birth. I puzzled over why Mom never recovered, until I found Dad’s collection of medical records in my sister’s attic. How could anyone give a nursing mother with three small children so many drugs in such a short period of time?
First, let me tell you that I was once a typical doctor, not to mention a typical American who loved pizza, soda, birth control, and ibuprofen. I believed in the science that I was taught to believe in. I felt that medication was the answer. And that symptoms were problems that needed to be fixed, suppressed, eradicated. That every patient was just one chemical prescription away from functioning “normally.” It wasn’t until my fellowship specialized in medicating pregnant and breastfeeding women, at a time when I was also pregnant, that I began to feel into a voice inside me that said, “I’m writing prescriptions that no amount of reported ‘safety data’ could convince me to take."
When women receive less pay than men for the same work, they were about two and a half times more likely to "have major depressive disorder," and about four times more likely to "have generalized anxiety disorder" than their male counterparts. But when women were earning more than men, the odds were 1.2 and 1.5 respectively. The use of psychiatric terminology ("major depressive disorder" and "generalized anxiety disorder") constitutes something of a barrier to communication here, but the general message is clear: people (in this case women) who are routinely treated unfairly and discriminately are more likely to be depressed and anxious, than those not so treated.