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Increased Depression during Menopause

Increased Depression during Menopause1

Many women will experience some form of depression during menopause. In order to effectively deal with depression during menopause, one should be aware of the underlying factors that cause it. Take a few minutes to read over the information below to learn about depression during menopause and how to deal with it.

What Is Depression?

Depression is a disorder that is caused by biological and environmental factors. Hormones in the brain, such as serotonin, regulate your mood. A drop in serotonin levels can result in mood swings and even episodes of depression. A person suffering from depression experiences intense feelings of sadness and hopelessness that can lead to a variety of symptoms and negative outcomes.

What Is Depression during Menopause?

While everyone will experience feelings of sadness in everyday life, hormonal imbalance and physical symptoms during menopause can exacerbate these feelings.

Depression during menopause can therefore be identified as a prolonged feeling of general unhappiness, often unexplained and not previously experienced. This and the fact that it usually comes from hormonal imbalance distinguish it from depression during other stages of life.

Of course, it is extremely difficult to classify something as complex as depression. Depression can befall anyone at any age, and it affects close to 19 million Americans each year. Many factors can influence emotional well-being, as well as different degrees of severity to which one can experience depression.

What Causes Depression during Menopause?

The reasons for increased depression during menopause are typically classified into two types: the psychological and the physiological. Physiological causes are usually responsible for depression as a menopausal symptom.

Psychological causes

Increased Depression during Menopause2

These are also grouped into two classifications: those related to specific psychological disorders (hereditary), and those associated with factors such as too much stress (environmental). The former group describes those who suffer from inherited diseases and are depressed due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. The latter is related to stress, work, fatigue, and other life events that can destabilize one's emotional state.

Physiological causes

Quick Fact

It is thought that somewhere between 8% and 15% of menopausal women experience some form of depression.

The most common reason for increased depression during menopause is hormonal imbalance. Estrogen has a significant effect on state of mind because it regulates the body's levels of serotonin. Depression during menopause is often the result of a drop in serotonin levels due to an overall decline in estrogen.

What Can I Do about Depression during Menopause?

Identifying whether depression is a symptom of menopause or caused by psychological or physiological factors is vital in choosing the right treatment. Depression caused by a psychological disorder should be treated immediately by a medical professional. A few important lifestyle changes can help alleviate depression caused by overwork, lack of sleep, or poor eating and exercise habits.

If depression is being caused by physical changes, a treatment plan aimed at balancing hormone levels could be the best approach, particularly during menopause. Several alternative treatments have been shown to naturally improve hormone balance. Optimum results are often achieved by combining lifestyle changes with natural remedies.

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Depression After Hysterectomy

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Menopausal Depression and Supplements

Many women going through menopause suffer from depression. However, depression should not be an accepted part of menopause.

Sources:
  • Freeman, E.W. (2010). Associations of depression with the transition to menopause. Menopause, 17(4), 823-827. doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e3181db9f8b
  • Office on Women's Health. (2010). Menopause and mental health. Retrieved January 26, 2016, from http://womenshealth.gov/menopause/menopause-mental-health/
  • University Health Services.(n.d)."Clinical Depression". Retrieved from www.uhs.berkeley.edu
  • University of Michigan Depression Center.(n.d)."Women and Depression: Menopause". Retrieved from www.med.umich.edu.