Depression is not a marginal phenomenon, it is a common and democratic disease. It affects people all over the world, regardless of their financial status, age and one would like to say their gender, but according to reports published by the World Health Organization (WHO), women are more likely to suffer from depression than men. Can we trust these statistics? The relationship between depression and gender is still being investigated, but today it can be said that depression is a disease of both men and women, but in men it can be atypical, more difficult to diagnose. Lack of diagnosis not only lowers the statistics, but also means lack of care and treatment.
Depression is a biopsychosocial disease characterized by mood disorders that have impact on professional, family and social life. Depression is associated with anhedonia – the loss of the ability to experience pleasure, which manifests itself not so much with sadness, but even indifference to what once gave joy. In the development of female depression, biological factors are those that contribute to a greater incidence of depression.They are associated with fluctuations in hormone levels that are experienced from adolescence to menopause. The psychological conditioning of women, such as concentration on negative emotions, greater reflexivity, empathy and a tendency to altruism, which may deceptively appear to be positive traits, may result in worse mood and extreme depression. While social norms allow women to express their sadness and depressed mood by crying, they do not allow them to express anger masked by sadness. Expectations for women are ever growing. The environment puts pressure on the woman to play the dual role – the traditional female role of devoted and understanding mother and wife, and the role of a full-time worker – hunter, while still being paid less than the male counterpart.
Expectations towards women and the style of their earlier upbringing seem to be divergent, which is certainly not conducive to harmonious relationships with oneself, or gathering resources to cope with the stressors of adult life of a modern woman. Postpartum depression constitutes an accumulation of rapid biological, social and mental changes in women. Lack of support and a fast pace of life do not give the chance to accept changes, adaptive abilities are exceeded, and depression appears as a result. The multitude of roles women have to play their life at a perfect level is conducive to experiencing internal tears and chronic stress, which, when stacked up, can trigger depression. Little self-confidence and self-criticism are the attributes of female depression. The numerous social and biological challenges that women face seem to be responsible for the multiplicity and duration of depressive episodes in women.
While women experience many situations throughout their lives that can cause depression, this disease is not unique to them. It turns out that depression in men can take an atypical form, thus rendering it undiagnosed and untreated. The different picture of depression in men may include aggressive, impulsive and risky behaviours. Male depression is the result of trying to live up to the expectations of the traditional male traits of a strong and resourceful male. Male depression may have a less characteristic course, which does not mean that it is less serious. Men do not cry or talk about emotions, this would take away their male dignity, at least according to the functioning stereotypes. Men face an internal conflict dictated by expectations regarding their attitudes – they are to be strong, decisive and leading, but also tender and empathetic towards their partners. In the process of their upbringing boys are taught to be independent, not to demonstrate their weakness or feelings. Men want to deal with their problems on their own, they are less likely to seek help.
The underestimated statistics of the prevalence of depression in the men result from the atypical manifestation of the disease. Male depression may be hidden under the mask of workaholism, alcohol abuse and escape into the world of computer games or gambling. It should be remembered that depression is a disease that threatens us with loss of health due to long-term stress leading to depression and somatic diseases that develop along with it, as well as a risk of loss of life through suicidal behaviour. Conflicts with the environment, self-destructive behaviour, withdrawal, as well as a change in libido may all be indicative of male depression. Despite the variety of symptoms, men and women alike need support and treatment for depression.
Regardless of their sex
Depression can occur as a result of a loss of health caused by a serious illness, which takes away our sense of agency and self-worth. Illness is one of the most stressful life situations, it can trigger anxiety and depressive symptoms. It is depression that can become the companion of an ailing body, regardless of gender. Depressive disorders are the cause or effect of somatic diseases. Disturbed mood in the form of depression appears after a stroke or heart attack, and it can occur even several months after COVID-19. Depression lowers the drive to recover from the disease, takes away the motivation and time devoted to rehabilitation. Depression inhibits recovery and contributes to worse treatment outcomes. The dangers of depression are that it increases the likelihood of future health issues and increases patient mortality rates. In the case of a cardiac incident, we can talk about an increased risk of a recurrent infarction, so it is worth undergoing treatment for depression and eliminating this risk factor. Psychotherapy is an effective and safe method of treating depression, in that it not only heals but also prevents the recurrence of mood disorders. In the case of a serious illness, it is necessary to eliminate depressive and anxiety disorders as well as stress accompanying the illness and hospitalization.
The virtual therapy we developed is a response to malaise and lack of motivation, motivation required for rehabilitation. The medicine supported by modern technology allows psychotherapy to be conducted in a VR environment. Therapeutic sessions in virtual space are attractive to those, who use this method of treating depression. Medical Virtual Reality has become a valuable medium that cannot be ignored. The VR TierOne medical solution makes use of the benefits of immersive Virtual Reality and is based on a therapeutic effect maintained in the Ericksonian trend. VR TierOne combines, in an innovative formula, beneficial elements for the effective reduction of depression, stress and anxiety, which is confirmed by scientific research. Depression must be treated regardless of its reason or gender. It is worth being aware that the picture of the disease is dynamic, although women can experience classic symptoms of depression, men are not immune either. Depression manifests itself differently in both genders, but the common solution is to make contact with your emotions. Virtual VR TierOne therapy supports the process of emotional defrosting, the therapeutic experience of virtual sessions supports the mental health of both women and men.