Monday, May 11, 2009

Women and Mental Illness

What role does gender play in the diagnosis, course and treatment of mental illness? Are women more prone to mental illness? The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health (OWH) has a report called "Action Steps for Improving Women's Mental Health." According to that report, women are twice as likely to suffer from major depression; three times as likely to attempt suicide; and they experience anxiety disorders two to three times more often than men. Why? What makes women so different from men?

CNN has a story about this interesting topic and highlights the personal stories of a few individuals. As technology improves brain imaging abilities and we gain a better understanding of how hormones affect our mood and cognition, are we as healthcare professionals moving in the right direction when it comes to the management of mental conditions?

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