According to a study, women are more likely to use antidepressants during breakups than men.
Researchers have discovered that women are more inclined to take antidepressants after the end of a relationship, particularly in later stages of life, in contrast to men.
The research project, supported by the European Research Council and Academy of Finland, examined a group of 228,644 individuals in Finland aged 50 to 70 from 1996 to 2018. These individuals had all gone through a separation, divorce, or loss of a loved one between 2000 and 2014.
Out of the group, 33% had gone through a divorce and 30% had ended their relationship and moved out, while 37% had lost their partner due to death.
According to the research conducted by Professor Yaoyue Hu from Chongqing Medical University, women tend to use antidepressants at a higher rate than men in the four years leading up to a breakup. Specifically, 6% of women were taking antidepressants compared to 3.2% of men.
The research, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health and subjected to peer review, revealed that the use of antidepressants rose among both men and women during the six months before divorce. The increase was 5% for men and 7% for women. After one year, the usage leveled off but remained higher than before the divorce for both genders.
The study suggests that women may struggle more with emotional adjustment to divorce or a breakup later in life, as seen through their use of antidepressants compared to men.
Possible reasons for the unequal use of antidepressants may include variations in gender roles, family obligations, and financial circumstances.
The research also discovered that a higher number of men entered new relationships after experiencing a loss or ending a previous relationship, compared to women. No difference was found between genders in regards to those who had gone through a divorce.
According to the study, women in our research who experience union dissolution may be more likely to use antidepressants due to the greater impact on their mental health compared to men.
The scientists stated that women experience smaller decreases in antidepressant use when they enter a new relationship, compared to men. This could be due to the belief that marriage has a greater positive impact on men’s mental well-being than women’s. Additionally, older men are more likely to seek emotional support through re-partnering than women.
The research discovered that there is an increase in grey divorce, which occurs at 50 years old and above, in wealthy nations due to their aging populations.
According to Gavin Scott, a partner in family law at the UK law firm Freeths, the statistics are not unexpected.
According to him, in the majority of divorces, wives tend to be in a more vulnerable financial situation compared to their husbands. This is because they often prioritize caring for their children over advancing their careers.
Dealing with the unknown financial ramifications of a divorce can be a significant emotional burden, especially when coupled with the stress and anxiety of the actual divorce proceedings. It’s not surprising that the usage of antidepressants tends to rise in these situations.
It is not uncommon to witness marriages that have deteriorated, but the individuals involved still reside together in uncomfortable environments. This can greatly contribute to the decline of mental well-being and negatively impact the emotional stability of any children involved.