Female doctors more 'in tune' with women's depression

March 1, 2008

When it comes to recognizing the symptoms of and risk factors for depression in women, female doctors seem to have the upper hand over their male counterparts.

When it comes to recognizing the symptoms of and risk factors for depression in women, female doctors seem to have the upper hand over their male counterparts. An Internet survey of 417 male and 83 female physicians found that the latter were more likely to:

"Women doctors, many of whom are mothers themselves, are likely more sensitive to the immense burden that new mothers can place on themselves for the health and care of their new baby," said Jo Parrish, from the Society for Women's Health Research, the nonprofit advocacy organization that conducted the survey.

The survey did find that male and female physicians were on the same page in identifying other symptoms of depression (including lack of energy or fatigue, feeling sad, and a loss of interest in friends, activities, or social life, among others). They also agreed that women are at higher risk than men to become depressed, and that it is safe to prescribe medication for depression in the postpartum period and, under the right circumstances, during pregnancy.