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The Effects of Gender Discrimination on Mental Health
No one likes to feel discriminated against or like they are being treated unfairly, but discrimination extends beyond an uncomfortable or irritable annoyance.
Over time, these unjust actions and behaviors can lead to serious problems including those related to the person’s mental health.
The Connection Between Gender Discrimination & Mental HealthAs a mental health facility in Florida, we know that mental health disorders often stem from a variety of contributing factors. Many people talk about how childhood traumas or chronic stress can negatively impact mental health, but there are several other causes for mental illness. One possible factor that is not often talked about is how sexism and gender discrimination affect mental health.
While gender discrimination may seem mostly innocuous to some, severe and frequent discrimination may have lasting effects. A research study found that gender discrimination and poor mental health may be connected. The study found that women who reported sex discrimination were found to be three times as likely to see a decline in their mental health over the next four years including experiencing clinical depression.1 Even though the sex discrimination may have stopped, these women were experiencing negative mental health effects years later.
Another study found that verbal abuse, sexual harassment, and sexual assault on flight attendants was associated with higher rates of depression.2 While a side comment or inappropriate physical contact may seem irrelevant to some, these actions may be meaningful to the subject and wear on their mental health. If sexism were reduced, we may also see a decline in mental health problems.
The Effects of Gender Discrimination on Mental Health & AddictionUnfortunately, the negative effects of gender discrimination on mental health may also eventually lead to a substance abuse problem. As people struggle to deal with their mental health appropriately, they may turn to drugs or alcohol to try and self-medicate. Research suggests that racial and gender discrimination leads to significantly increased risk of alcohol abuse in women and drug abuse in men.3 Without co-occurring disorder treatment, this substance abuse often makes their mental health problems worse. This connection could account for the why mental health continues to decline as years pass.
No one should have to deal with a mental illness on their own. At Banyan Mental Health, we offer various mental health treatment programs that area designed to help patients not only better manage their symptoms, but work toward normal lives.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health problems, call us today at 888-280-4763 to learn more about how we may be able to help.