Depression and Anxiety During Perimenopause: Explained
The word ‘menopause’ conjures up a few thoughts in most peoples’ minds – an end to the menstrual cycle, mood swings, irritability, hot flashes, and more. But along with the commonly talked about side effects, depression and anxiety are also two issues that may occur. They’re a bit rarer than hot flashes or mood swings, but do affect a large number of women that are going through menopause.
Depression and anxiety actually affect nearly 19 million people every year, and women are twice as likely to suffer from depression as men. While those who suffer from these conditions prior to menopause are certainly more likely to develop them as menopause sets in, even women who have never felt their effects could begin to suffer from them when they go through perimenopause.
- Overwhelming feelings of sadness or guilt
- Panic attacks
- Difficulty concentrating
- Loss of desire to socialize, work, or even get out of bed
- Loss of interest in hobbies or activities
- Changes in eating habits
- Loss of sleep
- And more
In terms of causes of this anxiety and depression, there are two different categorical causes – physical and psychological.
- Physical – The physical cause of depression and anxiety in menopausal women comes down to the sudden hormonal imbalances that occur. The body begins to reduce production of hormones like estrogen during menopause, which will in turn drastically impact mental and physical functions within the body. This hormonal imbalance can often trigger serious mood changes and cause things like anxiety and depression to occur as well.
- Psychological – Psychological issues are often triggered by underlying hereditary issues, but could also be caused by other factors that come into play in a woman’s life. Things like stress, being overworked, and even guilt may trigger these problems. Making matters worse is that during menopause most women are at the age where a lot of other issues may be present – concern over aging parents, empty nest syndrome, and more could all weigh heavily on a woman’s mind. And a loss of sexual desire that is a natural symptom of menopause could place feelings of guilt on a woman’s shoulder and strain a relationship, further adding to her burden.
Simply put, depression and anxiety during perimenopause are often triggered by a combination of different factors. Beginning with the hormonal imbalances that are the hallmark of menopause and bolstered by issues like stress, worry, and more, these are very common issues among women as they age.
Another thing to remember is that in some cases, the depression and anxiety may not fade away after menopause is finished running its course. While the body will eventually balance out the hormone levels again, those levels won’t usually be quite what they once were. As a result, depression or anxiety may remain for the rest of a woman’s life. A physician can help point one towards the different options for menopause treatment and help women escape from the clutches of these difficult to cope with problems.