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How to Distinguish between Mood Swings and Depression

How to Distinguish between Mood Swings and Depression

Menopause is a time of many changes. While some will last the rest of your life, others will fade as a mere symptom of the fluctuating hormone levels that are characteristic of perimenopause. Once the estrogen levels normalize, the symptoms of menopause should subside. Mood swings are a normal part of menopause, as is mild depressive moods. However, clinical depression is not a symptom of menopause and should be addressed by a professional. Continue reading about the differences between mood swings and depression.

What Are Mood Swings?

Mood swings are sudden shifts in an emotional state that are a result of unbalanced estrogen levels. They are usually temporary and do not interfere with everyday life. Mood swings can be abated in many cases with a little exercise, healthy eating, and sleep. Also, mood swings can be a symptom of depression, not the other way around.

What Is Depression?

Depression is more serious, longer-lasting, and more imposing than mere mood swings. Feelings of depression are common in menopause, but these are usually only temporary. Permanent or chronic feelings of helplessness, uselessness, and negativity may be more than a symptom of unbalanced hormones. Feelings of depression lasting more than two weeks should be reported to a healthcare professional.

How Do I Know My Depression Is More Than a Symptom of Menopause?

There are certain signs to look out for if you are concerned you or someone you love may be suffering from depression:

  • Huge change in appetite; extreme weight gain or loss
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Problems with sleeping, including sleeping too much
  • Absence of energy or interest in activities one once enjoyed, including sex
  • Feelings of self-hate and guilt
  • Fatigue, helplessness, hopelessness
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
How to Distinguish between Mood Swings and Depression

If you or your loved one displays several or all of these characteristics, it may be time to visit a professional.

Learn More about the Difference between Mood Swings and Depression

Depression is a serious illness affecting millions of Americans. Though it may not be easy to get rid of, there are many forms of treatment available for those who suffer from depression. While mood swings may be treated with simple lifestyle changes, a person with depression may require more advanced treatment. A doctor may recommend counseling, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication, or a combination of the three. To learn more about the difference in menopausal mood swings and more serious, clinical depression, click here.

The Most Common Symptoms of Depression

Depression should be dealt as early as possible. This article talks about the most common symptoms of depression, which you might recognize.

4 Ways to Stop Depression

Depression is categorized as a chronic feeling of sadness and hopelessness.

How to Deal with Your Wife's Depression during Menopause

Living with depression is painful, and it can be hard to help your partner if they are depressed. Click here for ways to support a depressed partner.

  • Boyles, Salynn, and Dr. Louise Change.(n.d). "Nearing Menopause? Depression a Risk". WebMD. Retrieved from
  • University Health Services.(n.d)."Clinical Depression". Retrieved from
  • University of Michigan Depression Center.(n.d)."Women and Depression: Menopause". Retrieved from