It is not proven that menopause can cause depression. However, the statistics show that the chances a woman will have depression increase by 300% if she is at the age of 45-55. Some studies show that up to one-third of women have felt depressed going through menopause. It is not yet known why that happens, but it might be due to the decrease of estrogen level. The hormone levels go down during perimenopause slowly but steadily, a period of about a year before the actual menopause that makes women feel something like constant PMS. And, of course, psychological reasons have to do a lot with depression: menopause is the time when women's lives change irreversibly, and not all women want to deal with it.
Depression is not just bad mood that lasts a little longer than usual - it is a serious disease that can lead to serious consequences such as heart attack and loss of bone density (osteoporosis). Therefore, it is important to diagnose depression before it's too late.
What Are the Signs of Menopausal Depression?
The typical signs are usually loss of appetite, sleeplessness, lack of interest in daily activities, loss of energy or unreasonable restlessness, problems with concentrating, overall dissatisfaction with life, suicidal thoughts, etc. Women might have the same symptoms during menopause, although not to the same extent, but there are the same problems with sleep, with tiredness, unusual anxiety, etc. This makes it more difficult to recognize the real depression. The most distinguishing signs of perimenopause that precedes menopause are difficulty concentrating and recalling memories.
How to Fight Menopausal Depression?
There are several ways to treat the disease, and some of them are specific for middle age. For those who suffer from light to moderate depression - herbal medications can help. St. John's wort is considered to one of the best of them. There were no studies that would examine how herbal remedies help fight depression, because they are not regulated as other medications are, and, therefore, don't have to undergo certain trials. Some of them can interact with some drugs and antidepressants, so you have to inform a medical specialist about any of remedies you're taking.
For those who suffer from moderate to severe depression, antidepressants are advised. It is important to consult a doctor before buying them, as not all of them are good for all the patients. Some of the medications, on the contrary, can worsen the symptoms or lead to serious side effects. In some cases specialists prescribe medications that contain estrogen hormones, as its decrease is seen as a reason of most problems associated with menopause.
Alternatively, psychotherapy can be used to treat depression. It should also be combined with medical treatment. There are two most popular and effective therapeutical techniques that are used to help menopausal women to overcome depression: interpersonal psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. Ask your healthcare provider for more details if you feel like psychotherapy might be the way for you.
How to Prevent Menopausal Depression?
Women who lead healthier lifestyles and take care of themselves have lower risks to have a depression during the perimenopausal period. Also, it is important to have an active social life and have other people surround you. Some women can have depression because they feel overwhelmed with their daily routine and responsibilities, even though they might not fully realize that. Make sure you have enough support from your relatives and friends, so you don't have to do it all yourself.
The importance of regular exercises cannot be overestimated. It prevents many health problems including obesity and heart diseases, and improves the mood as hormones of happiness are released into the bloodstream during the physical activity. It is not necessary to spend all your free time in the gym - 15 minutes of light exercises a day are already enough and have a very good effect on your organism's overall performance. Walking is one of the best activities. 1-2 hours a day will keep you in a good shape. If you want to combine exercising with relaxing practices, try yoga or other oriental practices, where physical activity is combined with meditation and breathing.
Make sure you get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation is one of the main stress factors that can lead to permanent depression. The minimum amount of time allocated to sleep should be 8 hours daily. You have to remember that with age it is more difficult to fall asleep, so you have to plan you daily routine accordingly.
Eat nutritious food. Make sure you get enough proteins, vitamins and minerals. Fruits of yellow and red color - bananas, oranges, mangos, papaya - contain the components necessary for maintaining a healthy nervous system. Try to avoid alcohol as it only seems that it can help fight the depression. In reality it worsens and aggravates the emotions you're experiencing, and mostly the negative ones. And, on top of that, alcohol is destructive for the nervous system.
At last, it is important to try to control the stress level in your life yourself. Be prepared for certain events in your life such as children living apart and having their own lives, relatives and friends passing away, stress of competing with younger and more energetic people at work, retirement, etc. These are the inevitable changes that you have to accept rather than question and change. In their 40s and 50s people, and not only women, question the achievements of their lives, compare them with their expectations. Of course, most people get disappointed by the results of their lives. That is why it is important to remind yourself that the expectations people set for themselves in youth are most often unrealistic.
Article by Canadian Health&Care Mall Team - www.canadahealthcaremall.com