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Depression
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Depression

Depression 1

Depression is a common yet potentially serious menopause symptom. It entails more than the occasional bout of sadness and, if not treated, can negatively impact overall quality of life.

Women are especially susceptible to depression, particularly during stages of hormonal fluctuation, such as menopause. Women ages 45 - 55 are four times more likely to have depression than women who have not yet reached that stage in life.

One of the reasons that women, especially during menopause, are more likely to suffer from depression is due to hormonal imbalance. Continue reading to learn all about depression, its signs and symptoms, causes, and treatment options.

About Depression

Depression refers to a mental state characterized by a pessimistic sense of inadequacy, feelings of sadness, and a despondent lack of activity. 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 closely related to menopause than others. The following are categories of depression linked to menopause:

Major depression. This 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.

Did You Know?

Untreated depression can lead to a greater risk of heart attacks and osteoporosis.

Dysthymic disorder. Less intense than major depression, dysthymia often lasts for longer, normally for two years or more.

Adjustment disorder. This is often brought on by a stressful event or situation. It can be acute, lasting less than six months, or chronic, lasting longer than six months.

Risk Factors for Depression

  • History of depression
  • Stress
  • Smoking or quitting smoking
  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Surgical or medical menopause

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This type of depression 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. This psychological disorder causes unusual shifts in a person's mood, energy, and ability to function, characterized by alternating episodes of mania and episodes of depression. Symptoms can be very severe.

  • Psychotic depression. This includes some features of psychosis, such as hallucinations, delusions, and 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.

Myths and Facts about Seasonal Depression

Many people suffer from seasonal related depression - also called seasonal affective disorder - and this can make certain time of the year difficult to deal with. It can sometimes be confusing to sort the truth from the fact, so this article aims to clear up any confusion.

How Is Clinical Depression Different From Sadness?

Sadness and clinical depression have many similarities, often leading people to be confused about where the line is drawn between the two. This article addresses the question of when it is sadness and when it is clinical depression, describing the differences sadness and the disorder of depression.

Depression Signs and Symptoms

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:

Physical symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Decreased energy
  • Overeating
  • Appetite loss
  • Insomnia
  • Early-morning wakefulness
  • Excessive sleeping
  • Persistent aches or pains
  • Headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment

Emotional Symptoms

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
  • Feelings of hopelessness and pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts

Behavioral symptoms

  • 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.

Clinical Depression Symptoms

Clinical depression is a complex condition, and the range and breadth of possible symptoms can be a source of confusion for some. This article gives more information on some of the most common clinical depression symptoms so that it makes them easier to recognize in real life situations.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression and Bipolar Disorder

Depression and bipolar disorder are serious psychological conditions, and there are a range of signs and symptoms to alert an individual into realizing they have the conditions. This article gives you hints and tips on what to look out for and how to distinguish the illnesses from one another.

Causes of Depression

Depression 2

The underlying cause of depression in menopausal women involves hormonal imbalance, especially decreased levels of estrogen. As women approach menopause, their estrogen levels begin to drop off. Estrogen plays an integral part in regulating brain functions, especially neurotransmitters that influence mood, such as serotonin. Decreasing estrogen levels during menopause can also cause other physical and mental symptoms, such as hot flashes and anxiety, which can contribute to depression.

Other causes include biochemical, genetic, personality, and environmental factors, as well as other diseases.

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.

Menstrual Cycle and Depression: The Link

The menstrual cycle is often blamed for many physical and emotional changes that a woman undergoes, and depression is one of these changes. This article examines the link between menstruation and episodes of depression, hopefully clearing up any confusion surrounding them and identifying the link.

4 Habits that Trigger Depression

Depression is an often misunderstood condition that affects thousands of people every day. Although the illness can have a negative effect on a person's life it is treatable. Key to finding a remedy that works for you however, is knowing more about what can trigger it. Read on to learn more.

Depression Treatments

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Although depression can make a woman feel hopeless, a variety of treatment options exist that can treat her depression and improve her overall quality of life. 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 like meditation or yoga.

By simply including five 30-minute sessions of physical activity such as walking, jogging, swimming, and cycling into a weekly routine, a woman can greatly relieve her milder depression symptoms.

Similarly, a healthy diet 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 needs further help treating her symptoms.

The most effective approach, since depression in menopausal women is primarily caused by a hormonal imbalance, is to treat the problem directly at the 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 consider pharmaceutical options. It is recommended that a woman consult a trusted medical professional before beginning such treatments in order to better understand the potential benefits and risks involved.

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.

What Kind of Depression Therapies Are There?

Depression is a serious mental illness that develops over time and can be triggered by things like genetics and emotional trauma. Women are twice as likely to develop depression as men due to hormone fluctuations experienced. Keep reading to learn about the different kinds of therapies to treat depression.

How to Cure Postmenopausal Depression

Depression is a mental illness that develops over time that affects women of all ages, but is most common in women ages 40 - 59. This can be directly linked to hormone fluctuations experienced during the menopause transition. Genetics, environmental factors, and emotional trauma can accelerate the development of depression.

Sources:
  • Amin, Z. , Canli, T. & Epperson, C.N. (2005). Effects of Estrogen-Serotonin Interactions on Mood and Cognition. Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience Reviews, 4(1), 43-58. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15886402
  • Lane, A.M. & Lovejoy, D.J. (2001). The effects of exercise on mood changes: the moderating effect of depressed mood. The Journal of Sports of Medicine and Physical Fitness, 41(4), 539-545.
  • National Institutes of Health. (2014). Learn to manage stress. Retrieved May 6, 2016, from https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001942.htm
  • Office on Women's Health. (2010). Menopause and mental health. Retrieved May 6, 2016, from http://womenshealth.gov/menopause/menopause-mental-health/
  • University of Michigan Depression Center. (n.d.). Depression During Menopause. Retrieved May 6, 2016, from http://www.depressiontoolkit.org/women/menopause.asp

General articles

Updated on Mar 21, 2016
Poor Diet and Depression: Are They Linked?
Depression is a distressing illness, often having a highly negative effect on everyday life, leading some people to seek solutions. Some try to improve their diet, believing that diet and depression are linked. But does a poor diet really cause depression? This article addresses this very question, taking into account the current evidence.
Updated on Oct 26, 2015
Middle-Aged Women and Depression
Depression is an illness that often develops in middle-aged women and can affect all aspects of life. Depression is more likely to strike at this age due to hormonal fluctuations that occur during menopause. If you are suffering from low mood, change in appetite, and loss of libido, you should consult your doctor.
Updated on Oct 14, 2015
Depression after a Hysterectomy: What Should I Do?
A hysterectomy is a big event in any woman's life, and can often be followed by the onset of depression. This can further exacerbate the problems that having a hysterectomy might cause. This article focuses on a few self-help remedies that should help reduce depression.
Updated on Jul 14, 2015
Menopausal Depression: Should I Be Worried?
1 in 5 women develop depression at some point in their lives, and it is most common in women aged 40 - 59. Hormone fluctuations experienced during menopause is the primary cause of depression in women. It is important to remember that depression is common and treatable.
Updated on Jun 30, 2015
How to Overcome Pain and Depression during Menopause
Depression is a mental illness that develops over time, and can be triggered by a number of factors. Genetics, environmental, and emotional trauma can accelerate the development of depression. Seeking professional help, having a support system, and staying active are all helpful ways to overcome pain and depression.