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Mental Health: Why so many women are at their breaking point

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and a new national survey finds two out of three women with depression and/or anxiety have reached their breaking point.

CLEVELAND — GeneSight Mental Health Monitor from Myriad Genetics Inc. surveyed women across the country and found many have reached their breaking point regarding mental health.  

This breaking point can be defined as a negative impact or a significant strain on anything from social life to caring for loved ones at home to professional obligations. Four out of 10 women without a diagnosis of depression or anxiety say they have reached or are reaching this point. 

When feeling overwhelmed, nearly three out of four (72%) of women say they "just need to take a break," with 31% believing "I need to try harder." Only 13% said they thought "I should see a doctor" when feeling overwhelmed.

"Women often feel pressure to 'hold it all together' and not admit when they are struggling," Dr. Betty Jo "BJ" Fancher, a family medicine and psychiatric physician assistant with a doctorate of medical science and a masters in psychopharmacology, says. "Yet if you are sobbing on the floor of your shower, throwing things in anger or repeatedly screaming into a pillow, these are signals that you have crossed a line and should see a healthcare provider about your mental health."

Delaying mental health treatment is common among the women surveyed. In fact, more than half (51%) of women diagnosed with anxiety and/or depression waited at least one year before seeking treatment—or never sought treatment at all.  

Experts say getting treatment is critical because, left untreated, mental health conditions can worsen. For more information on how genetic testing can help inform clinicians on treatment of depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other psychiatric conditions, visit GeneSight.com.

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