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Study: Women Suffering Record Rates of Depression

A new study by European researchers has found that today's woman is twice as likely to suffer from depression compared with 40 years ago because of the struggle to manage both family and career.

The Daily Mail is reporting that a large study conducted by German researchers and published in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology found that as many as one in seven women will be affected by depression at some point in their lives - which is double the rate found in men.

The strain of trying to have a family and maintain a career is leaving women with a "tremendous burden," researchers say, which explains why depression rates in women have doubled since the 1970s.

The problem is particularly acute in women of childbearing age. Rates of depression in women ages 16 to 42 is twice as high as men in the same age bracket.

"In depression you see this 2.6 times higher rate amongst females," said Professor Hans-Ulrich Wittchen, who led the study.

"There are clusters in the reproductive years between the ages of 16 to 42. In females you see these incredibly high rates of depressive episodes at the time when they are having babies, where they raise children, where they have to cope with the double responsibilities of having a job and a family. This is what is causing the tremendous burden."

Professor Wittchen says this is due to the stress of being unable to care for their families as much as they'd like while trying to maintain a profession.

Even though the numbers of depressive episodes in women has begun to level off, the rates are still too high.

"It’s now leveling off, it’s pretty much stabilized but it’s much much higher than the 1970s," Professor Wittchen said.

These latest findings confirm a report published in August of this year by American researchers at the University of Washington which found that women who believe they can manage family and career are far more likely to be depressed and to report feeling like a failure.

Some experts disagree with the findings and say men also suffer from high rates of depression but are less likely to admit it and therefore tend to remain undiagnosed.

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