Changing hormone levels in the female body mean that depression is a common experience for women who are going through menopause. In order to effectively deal with depression, one should be aware of the underlying factors that cause it. Take some time to read over the information below which explains how depression during menopause can be dealt with.
Why Is Depression a Menopause Symptom?
Depression as a menopause symptom can be identified as a prolonged feeling of general unhappiness. Women who have suffered from depression in the past might find it easier to identify their condition as the symptoms are often similar. The severity, duration, and presence of other typical menopause symptoms however, are what distinguish depression as a menopause symptom from ordinary sadness and low mood.
Depression itself can be defined as a significant change in mood that is felt over an extended period of time. Symptoms can include a decreased interest in hobbies, sleeping and eating disorders, and withdrawal from family and friends. It is however, difficult to classify something as complex as depression. What is known though is that depression can affect anyone of any age: it is estimated that the condition affects close to 19 million Americans each year.
What Causes Depression?
There are typically two causes of depression: the psychological and the physical. It is the physical causes however, which are usually responsible for depression as a menopause symptom.
Psychological causes can themselves be grouped into two classifications. Those related to specific psychological disorders (hereditary), and those associated with the overwhelming nature of excessive levels of stress (environmental). The former group involves those who suffer from rare hereditary diseases and are depressed due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. The latter classification is related to the daily stress, overwork, and the constant fatigue that can destabilize a person's emotional state.
The most common explanation for depression during menopause is hormonal imbalance: a physical cause. Estrogen hormones have a proven effect on our mental state because they regulate the body's levels of serotonin, which is the chemical in the brain that controls mood. Therefore, depression is often the result of a drop in serotonin due to a decline in overall estrogen levels.
In order to tackle depression, it is necessary to deal with the primary problem of hormone imbalance. While the variety of treatments differs nearly as much as the causes of depression, there are effective and safe tips and treatments.
What Can I Do about Depression?
The following tips can be used as ways of coping with mood swings, fears, and depression:
- Find a self-calming skill to practice such as yoga or meditation
- Engage in a creative hobby
- Stay connected with your family and community
- Seek emotional support from friends, family members, or a professional counselor when needed
- Take medicines, vitamins, and minerals as prescribed by your doctor
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet and exercise regularly
Identifying whether depression is a symptom of menopause caused by psychological or physiological factors is vital in choosing an effective treatment. Depression caused by a psychological disorder should be treated by a medically certified psychiatrist or psychologist. If, however, the symptoms of depression are being caused by lifestyle stresses, such as overwork and lack of sleep, these are problems can be handled by making simple changes to lifestyle patterns.
If depression is being caused by physical changes as a result of menopause, a hormonal balancing program could the best solution. More specific treatments for depression can be found at the link below.
- Boyles, Salynn, and Dr. Louise Change.(n.d). "Nearing Menopause? Depression a Risk". WebMD. Retrieved from www.webmd.com
- University Health Services.(n.d),"Clinical Depression". Retrieved from University Health Services. www.uhs.berkeley.edu
- University of Michigan Depression Center.(n.d)."Women and Depression: Menopause". Retrieved from www.med.umich.edu.