Menopause and Depression
By Cathy Taylor
Do women going through menopause experience depression differently. ¡°I
never know if depression is what I'm really experiencing, or if it's something
else and how long will it last¡± Sara told me. 'Menopause made that process
even more confusing at times."
When I heard these words from a friend of mine, I realized that unless
someone 'diagnoses' you as depressed, how do you really know that is what
you are experiencing? Most of us have been or seen someone depressed in
our lives, so we are at risk for labeling ourselves something that might not
even be true, or worse yet, become a limitation to us for no good reason!
So let's get it straight. What does depression feel like? How does one know if
they should be concerned about what they are feeling or thinking?
Feeling down once in awhile is considered normal for most people. But it
passes quickly. If these feelings of sadness persist, however, and possibly
become stronger or more intense over prolonged periods of time, and they
aren't naturally resolved, it's time to look at the reasons and see what can be
done about it.
Here is a checklist of symptoms related to depression during menopause:
gloomy, sadness, loss of interest and pleasures, fatigue, loss of vigor, extreme
restlessness and irritability, loss of concentration and attentiveness, loss of
self-respect and self-confidence, guilt, lack of self-worth, hopelessness,
thoughts of suicide, insomnia, and a loss of appetite.
Depression that goes untreated can become ¡°clinical¡± and requires
professional treatment. If you think you are ¡°clinically¡± depressed, do not
hesitate to get help from a therapist or doctor.
What I'm referring to here is a condition that is brought on by hormonal
changes in the body particularly during the menopausal years that is often
linked to a decrease in estrogen levels. However, some doctors believe
symptoms are caused by a decrease in progesterone and resultant rise in
estrogen (but more about that in the progesterone article).
If that is what you are experiencing, you have a few options. One is the
traditional Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Hormone Replacement Therapy and the other is new
alternative medicine that include herbal remedies, dietary supplements such
as 5-HTP , or something called Bioidentical Hormones
Other things you can do to support yourself through menopause are:
Exercise, do a little every day
Learn to manage your stress carefully so you do not get overwhelmed
Promote good sleep by avoiding things that stress you out and indulging in
things that relax you like hot baths
Eat a well-balanced diet, avoid refined sugar and high carb foods
Make time to do something you enjoy EVERY day
Be realistic about the expectations you put on yourself
Menopause can be time of great change and depression may play a factor for
some women and men. Be sure to get help if you need it.
The information in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not
intended as medical advice.
About the Author
Cathy writes frequently on mid-life issues for women and men particularly menopause, and a copy of her book can be found at http://www.howtoconquermenopause.com
To read a sample of this book go to http://www.everythingmenopause.com/currentissue.html
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