Not everyone groups menopause and depression together but there is most definitely a commonality between them. It is wise to learn as much as you can about menopause depression before deciding the best way to manage it.
Depression is most likely to hit during perimenopause, the transitional stage before actual menopause (no periods for 12 months). Somewhere between 8% and 15% of women experience some level of depression.
Your hormonal balance is constantly changing and producing less hormones, in particular estrogen. When estrogen levels decline this can lead to menopause depression.
The first thing to realise is that you have not suddenly become mentally ill but are suffering from menopause depression, which can be treated either through support, therapy, natural or herbal remedies or medicine.
Depression is a mental disorder; the symptoms of which can be split into 3 categories.
Physical Symptoms: fatigue, overeating, insomnia, constant aches and pains, appetite loss, decreased energy, headaches, stomach cramps and digestive problems.
Emotional Symptoms: feelings of helplessness and impending doom, constant feelings of sadness and anxiety, irritability, restlessness, suicidal thoughts, feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, guilt.
Behavioural Symptoms: difficulty concentrating, indecisiveness, lack of attention to physical appearance, difficulty remembering details, neglecting responsibilities, loss of interest in everyday life and activities you previously found pleasurable. loss of libido.
At least 5 symptoms must be present for no less than 2 weeks for depression to be diagnosed At least one of the 5 must include constant feelings of sadness or loss of interest or pleasure.
There is an increased risk of developing menopause depression if you have a history of mood disorders, especially during your 20s. Women who have gone through surgical menopause are also at an increased risk of menopause and depression. If you have been prone to premenstrual mood swings, have had a postpartum depression or were extremely emotional during a pregnancy you are someone who will likely be more sensitive to a drop in estrogen.
Menopause and depression can be linked to low estrogen levels or to the fact that we face so many changes during out 40s and 50s; pressures of work, marriage, children, elderly parents, finance and of course our altered body image and the ageing process. We can feel that we have reached the end of our vitality and productivity. When you add these stressors to our declining hormone levels it is no wonder why so many women suffer from menopause depression.
Our hormones all work together so when there is a shift in balance we will experience symptoms. For example, lowered estrogen can pull down your thyroxine levels. A low thyroid condition called Hypothyroidism, mimics depression.
What Can You Do to Help Your Menopause Depression?
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