Mental disorders: what differences between men and women?

“Being the most frequent mental pathology in women, today the prevalence – even of scientific research – prevails over the female gender. Also because it makes more news “. This is stated by Emilio Sacchetti , professor emeritus of psychiatry at the University of Brescia, president of the Italian Society of Geriatric Psychiatry, of the Academy of Behavioral Addiction Sciences and past with whom we have tried to focus the aspects of an over-neglected problem .

Professor Sacchetti, how are mental illnesses distributed among the sexes?

Overall, mental disorders are more common in women, but some prevail among men.

Substance dependence is a typically male issue , as are autism spectrum disorders. Anxiety disorders, major depressions, obsessive-compulsive disorders occur more often in women, while some types of dementia, particularly those of vascular origin, show an excess among men.

Even suicide deaths are significantly higher among men . in western countries men kill four times more than women, who however attempt suicide more frequently. Obviously many factors come into play: they affect biology, genetics, but also social and cultural conditions.

Another interesting thing is that the gender distribution of mental disorders varies with age. Childhood disorders tend to be more prevalent in males: this applies not only to autism but also to attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Over the years the situation is reversed.

Finally, let me point out a curiosity: few people know that there is a male-born childbirth depression : during pregnancy and immediately after childbirth the development of depressive syndromes is frequent, linked to concerns for the child and various other factors.

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