The Personal IS Political!

Folks, data on women with depression is skewed. 

As I read the book Invisible Women by Caroline Criado-Perez, published in 2019, I was startled to learn women are prescribed antidepressants more often than men … Two and a Half times more often than men!


It is not that women report having depression more often than men, as many of us would assume!  A 2017 study discovered that men are more likely to report having symptoms of depression than women.

Even now in 2021, we assume women are the “ weaker” sex. Therefore, we assume they need treatment for depression and anxiety more than men. Physicians prescribe antidepressants, for example, for skin pain in women, where men will be prescribed pain medication for skin pain.

So why are women given anti-depressants when they are not depressed? Physicians are socially biased and influenced also.  

  • Women are prescribed antidepressants instead of pain medication for pain.
  • Women are prescribed sedatives for pain instead of pain medication for pain.

Yentl syndrome is at work. Still.

What is the Yentl Syndrome? The Yentl Syndrome describes the phenomenon whereby women are misdiagnosed and poorly treated medically unless their symptoms or diseases conform to that of men.

This is the heart of the matter: Research on most illnesses have been done on men. Female bodies are not afforded the same degree of medical attention as male bodies. 

In addition, sometimes people say, women live longer, so women do not need the same amount of medical research. Check again. Mens longevity has increased along with their years of good health. Women live on the average only 5 years longer than men now. But those 5 years are often burdened with ill health and disability! Women are the sex as elders who more often need assisted health care

And even if women did live a lot longer than men, why would less research into women’s health and well being be justified? What !!!

We must all become more political.

During your health care appointments:

  •  Ask uncomfortable questions.

How much published research, not only clinical experience or reports, have specifically included women in all aspects of health, be it dental, physical or mental?

  • Go elsewhere if you do not have a health care provider who is willing to answer uncomfortable questions. 

I hope this is an option for you. 

Before your health care appointments:

 Research your health issue, be it something that needs addressing now or is a developing or a preventable condition.  

(It is strikingly obvious to me the more I prepare for my health care appointments and make it clear to the physician I am prepared by coming with written questions and background information, the more RESPECT I obtain from the physician. I get better treatment and more options presented to me. My goal is to be on equal footing with the health care team be it mental, dental or other physical health care. )

If we persist with less data on women’s health, things do not look rosy for women.

If we persist with less research into the health of Latina, Black, Asian, Indigenous and other minority groups, things are still darker.

— Let us remember and celebrate all of us —

Thank you kindly,

Gail Louise

  • The book Invisible Women, Data Bias in A World Designed for Men was the Business Book of the Year in 2019 by the McKinsey and Company Financial Times, the winner of the 2019 Royal Science Book Prize, a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize and The Orwell Prize, and longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellencein Nonfiction.
  • Antidepressants have been life-giving for me in the past. I advocate for antidepressants to be prescribed judiciously and for limited time periods.