Research shows that black women experience depression differently

According to a recent study published in the journal nursing studies journal, Black women may experience “underrecognized and poorly treated” depressive symptoms in the larger medical community.

Depression ‘more likely’ to manifest as stress or self-criticism in black women

The study focused on data from 227 African-American women and focused on “discovering[ing] depressive symptom phenotype” in this demographic. Through research, it has been found that, in contrast to more characteristic symptoms, Black women may experience higher levels of self-criticism, sleep disturbances and irritability, according to the NYU.

Regarding these findings, Lauren Carson—founder of a mental health nonprofit called Black Girls Smile—notes that her experience with patients supports this conclusion.

“As Black women and girls, we are more likely to experience what are known as psychotic symptoms, which in turn represent stress, anxiety or trauma in our bodies.”

Additionally, she shares that Black women facing depression or anxiety experience migraines, gastrointestinal problems, and muscle tension at a higher rate than other demographic groups. other study.

“A lot of the information we get when we make a diagnosis… is not always relevant to these marginalized demographic groups.”

Therefore, the generally accepted symptoms of depression are not quite the same across the board.

These differences can lead to ‘Underdiagnosis & Undertreatment’

As a result, Dr Nicole Perez, lead author of the study, notes: “It is possible that health care providers may miss depressive symptoms in Black women, leading to a diagnosis of depression. inadequate diagnosis and treatment.”

“My hope is that these findings contribute to the growing conversation about how depression can look different from person to person and raise awareness of the need for more research in groups. minority population and historically little studied.

Perez continued, sharing that action needs to be taken “so we can better identify symptoms and reduce missed care and healthcare disparities.”

How stereotypes about ‘strong and resilient’ black women affect

In addition to exploring the differences between the symptoms, an explanation as to why some of these differences occur has been offered. In particular, research is sure to shed light on how expecting Black women to be “strong” can lead to depression that manifests as self-criticism and people-pleasing.

Meghan Watson, founder of Bloom’s Center for Psychology & Health in Toronto, comments: “It’s not emotionally safe to just be sad or hopeless, which are some of the hallmark symptoms of depression. “

“I think a lot of the reasons that I attribute to [people-pleasing] As for depression, it’s my understanding that in talking with Black women often, it’s not emotionally safe to just be sad or hopeless, which are some of the hallmark symptoms of depression.

What do you think of these findings?

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