Depression is a common yet potentially serious symptom of menopause. It entails more than the occasional bout of sadness and, if not treated, can lead to more severe mental disorders and a lessened quality of life.
Women are especially susceptible to depression and when approaching menopause are even more so. Women ages 45 to 55 are four times more likely to have depression than women who have not yet reached that stage in life.
The main reason women, especially menopausal women, are more likely to suffer from depression is because of their hormonal imbalance. Continue reading to learn all about depression, its signs and symptoms, causes, and treatment options.
The general use of the term depression refers to a mental state characterized by a pessimistic sense of inadequacy, feelings of sadness, and a despondent lack of activity.
But because depression is a clinical mental disorder, it's important to distinguish feelings of sadness and despondency from clinical depression.
Clinical depression is more severe than brief periods of sadness. It is a serious mental illness characterized by more than two weeks of extremely low moods that affect how a person feels, thinks, and acts.
Types of depression
There are six main types of depression. Some are more related to menopause than others. The following are categories of depression closely linked to menopause:
Major depression. Lasts for more than two weeks and is characterized by intense feelings of sadness, loss of interest in normal activities, withdrawal from friends and family, and negative thoughts.
Untreated depression can lead to a greater risk of heart attacks and osteoporosis.
Dysthymic disorder. Less intense than major depression, but often lasts for longer, normally for two years or more.
Adjustment disorder. Often brought on by a stressful event or situation. It can be acute (lasting less than six months) or chronic (lasting longer).
Risk Factors for Depression:
• History of depression
• Smoking or quitting smoking
• Drug and alcohol use
• Surgical/medical menopause
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). A type of depression that is triggered by the seasons and most commonly caused by a lack of sunlight in the winter months.
Other types of depression less associated with menopause, but just as severe, include the following:
Manic depression or bipolar disorder. A brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in a person's mood, energy, and ability to function. Symptoms can be very severe.
Psychotic depression. Includes some features of psychosis, such as hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren't there) or delusions (irrational thoughts and fears).
Click on the following link to read more about depression, or continue reading below to learn about the signs and symptoms of depression.
Depression is very common among menopausal women due to hormonal shifts taking place. If you suspect that you are experiencing this upsetting symptom, this list can help you decide for sure. The following are frequent signs to watch out for in order to take the necessary action to reclaim joy.
Bipolar disorder and depression can both cause feelings of sadness and irritability, and are increasingly common among menopausal women. Find out what factors distinguish these two conditions from each other so that you know which you are faced with. Also, explore lifestyle remedies and other options for lasting relief.
Signs and Symptoms of Depression
Because depression is a mental disorder, it's important to pinpoint the symptoms associated with it. The symptoms can be separated into three categories: physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms. In order for depression to be diagnosed, at least five symptoms must be present for no less than two weeks, and at least one of those five must either be persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest or pleasure. Here are the other signs and symptoms:
• Decreased energy
• Appetite loss
• Early-morning wakefulness
• Excessive sleeping
• Persistent aches or pains
• Headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
• Persistent sad, anxious or "empty" feelings
• Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
• Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness
• Thoughts of suicide/suicide attempts
• Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
• Difficulty concentrating
• Difficulty remembering details
• Difficulty making decisions
• Neglecting responsibilities
• Failing to attend to one's physical appearance
Click on the following link to read more about the signs and symptoms of depression, or continue reading below to learn about the possible causes of depression.
Although depression can be difficult, upsetting, and painful, there is help available. The physical symptoms can be unsettling, but it is increasingly common during menopause because of hormonal shifts and changes in the body. Find out what to expect so that you can protect your body.
We all have the odd “down day”, but it's important to recognize when down days occur more than happy ones. Depression is an illness that seriously affects a person's life, and can escalate quickly if undealt with. Like all illnesses, depression has a number of both emotional and physical symptoms that are less obvious.
Causes of Depression
The underlying cause of depression in menopausal women has to do with hormonal imbalance, especially decreased levels of estrogen. As women approach menopause, their estrogen levels begin to drop off. This hormone plays a big part in regulating brain functions, especially chemicals that influence mood, such as serotonin and cortisol. Decreasing levels of estrogen during menopause can also cause other physical and mental symptoms, such as hot flashes and anxiety, which can lead to depression.
Other causes include biochemical, genetic, personality, environmental factors and disease.
Click on the following link to learn more about the causes of depression, or continue reading to find out about all the different treatment options for depression.
As you can imagine and may be experiencing low libido can impact your emotional well-being. While a decreased sex drives affects your ability to become aroused, depression interferes with your ability to become and remain happy. Women may begin to wonder if the two circumstances are related, which this article explores.
Treatments for Depression
Although depression can make a woman feel hopeless, a variety of treatment options exist that can help wash away her depression and keep her hope alive. It is generally recommended that women begin with the least invasive option, which would be lifestyle changes. In the case of depression, this involves steps such as making sure to get regular exercise, eating healthy, and practicing mind-body techniques such as meditation or yoga.
By simply including three 30 minute-long sessions of physical activity such as walking, jogging, swimming, and cycling into a weekly routine a woman can greatly relieve her milder symptoms of depression.
Similarly, eating healthily will also help to stabilize mood swings and alleviate depression. Lifestyle changes are an important first step to tackling depression, but there are other treatment options available if a woman were to feel that she needs further help in regaining a positive outlook on life.
The most effective approach, as depression in menopausal women is primarily caused by a hormonal imbalance, is to treat the problem directly at the hormonal source. A variety of natural and alternative supplements exist that may be able to address this imbalance.
For more prolonged or severe cases of depression, it may be necessary to seek the advice of a healthcare professional and possibly seek pharmaceutical options, though these carry the most risk of undesirable side effects.
Click on the following link to read more specifics about each of the treatments for depression in order to learn how to alleviate this symptom in a safe and effective way.
Menopausal depression is not pleasant, or even surprising considering the number of chemical changes going on in the body, but taking a few minutes each day to relax and unwind can go a long way in elevating mood. Here are a few simple relaxation techniques that will fit into a busy lifestyle.
Depression can be difficult, but there is helpful available. The relieving part is that there are many simple, yet profound ways to overcome depression. As you recover, you can incorporate habits into your life to help alleviate the symptoms. This article will help you get started.
- Boyles, Salynn, and Dr. Louise Change. "Nearing Menopause? Depression a Risk". WebMD. www.webmd.com
- "Clinical Depression". University Health Services. www.uhs.berkeley.edu
- "Women and Depression: Menopause". University of Michigan Depression Center. www.med.umich.edu.
Updated on October 20th, 2014
Unfortunately, depression during postmenopause is common. Although your last menstrual cycle may have been months or even years ago...
Updated on October 15th, 2014
All of us face periods in our lives when we feel down, depressed, and helpless, but depression is much more than this it does not go...
Updated on September 19th, 2014
Difficulty concentrating can be upsetting and disorienting. In trying to fulfill...
Updated on September 1st, 2014
Depression and anxiety are emotions that can come on strong during menopause. They can come at different times or build up simultaneously...
Updated on February 24th, 2014
Depression is often a period of increased risk for depression in women. While the reasons for menopausal depression are not fully understood...
Updated on September 12nd, 2013
“You are what you eat” is a popular phrase, seeing as what you eat defines how your body works...
Updated on August 14th, 2013
Menopause and depression are often inextricably linked due to fluctuating hormone levels. It is for this reason that midlife is considered...
Updated on August 13rd, 2013
Taking those wedding vows, you promise to look after each other "throughout the seasons of life"...