Depression should not be a normal part of going through menopause or be a normal part of aging. However, many women do experience depression after menopause.
It is often hard to say what causes depression, and this includes depression that women experience postmenopause. However, women may become depressed when they experience drastic changes in hormone levels, such as after giving birth or during and after menopause. However, there are many causes for depression in postmenopausal women. These include:
- An underlying medical condition
- Grief. This can be caused by the loss of a loved one or another trauma
- Genetic predisposition. If a family member has had depression, you are more likely to have it.
What to Do About Depression during Post-menopause
Understand what depression is
It's important to understand what you are going through. Many people who are going through depression do not want to see a doctor about it because they do not consider it an actual medical condition. However, depression is very real, and it's important to seek help if you need it.
Acknowledge the problem
Depression is more than feeling occasionally sad. Depression can be overwhelming and the sadness that is part of depression can often last for weeks. Depression also has other psychological and physical symptoms such as changes in appetite, problems sleeping, and minor memory problems. It is important for a person with depression to acknowledge the condition so that they can get help.
Stay active and reach out to people
A person with depression may not always feel like going out and socializing. It is alright to feel sad sometimes, to need to be alone, or to mourn something that you have lost. However, it is important that a person with depression does not cut out the people that care about her from her life. A person with depression should also continue pursuing their hobbies and interests.
Postmenopausal women can be faced with different health problems and other worries about aging. It is important that a person with depression continues to treat any underlying medical conditions that she has. It will also help to deal with any stress or anxiety underlying medical conditions or the aging process may be causing. Talking with a therapist, opening up to close friends and relatives, or practicing a relaxation technique such as yoga can help. Getting the right amount of sleep and eating a healthy diet is also imperative.
See the doctor
If a woman thinks she has depression, it is important to go to the doctor, who will review your symptoms and help find a treatment plan that works for you.
More about Post-menopause and Depression
Around 6.7% of people experience major depression every year and women are 70% more likely to experience depression than men. These means that there is a large amount of women in postmenopause who are depressed. However, help is available to treat depression.
- Cleveland Clinic. (2013). Emotional Aspects of Menopause. Retrieved from http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases_conditions/hic-what-is-perimenopause-menopause-postmenopause/hic-emotional-aspects-of-menopause
- National Institute of Mental Health. What is Depression? Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml#part_145395
- Royal College of Psychiatrists. (2014). Depression in Older Adults. Retrieved from http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/healthadvice/problemsdisorders/depressioninolderadults.aspx