Depression and Menopausedepressed teenage girl

Depression is a common yet potentially serious symptom of menopause. It entails more than the occasional bout of sadness and, if not treated, can lead to more severe mental disorders and a lessened quality of life.

Women are especially susceptible to depression and when approaching menopause are even more:
Women ages 45 to 55 are four times more likely to have depression than women who have not yet reached that stage in life.

The main reason women, especially menopausal women, are more likely to suffer from depression is because of their hormonal imbalance.

Depression

The general use of the term depression refers to a mental state characterized by a pessimistic sense of inadequacy, feelings of sadness, and a despondent lack of activity.
But because depression is a clinical mental disorder, it´s important to distinguish feelings of sadness and despondency from clinical depression.
Clinical depression is more severe than brief periods of sadness. It is a serious mental illness characterized by more than two weeks of extremely low moods that affect how a person feels, thinks, acts.

Types of Depression

There are six main types of depression. Some are more related to menopause than others. The following are categories of depression closely linked to menopause:

  • Major depression – lasts for more than two weeks and is characterized by intense feelings of sadness, loss of interest in normal activities, withdrawal from friends and family, and negative thoughts.
  • Dysthymic disorder – less intense than Major depression, but often lasts for longer, normally for two years or more.
  • Adjustment disorder – Often brought on by a stressful event or situation. It can be acute (lasting less than six months) or chronic (lasting longer).

Untreated depression can lead to a greater risk of heart attacks and osteoporosis.

Risk Factors for Depression:

  • History of depression
  • Stress
  • Smoking or quitting smoking
  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Surgical/medical menopause

Seasonal effective disorder (SAD) – a type of depression that is triggered by the seasons and most commonly caused by a lack of sunlight in the winter months.

Other types of depression less associated with menopause, but just as severe, include the following:

  • Manic depression or bipolar disorder – a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in a person’s mood, energy, and ability to function. Symptoms can be very severe.
  • Psychotic depression – includes some features of psychosis, such as hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren´t there) or delusions (irrational thoughts and fears).

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

Because depression is a mental disorder, it´s important to pinpoint the symptoms associated with it. The symptoms can be separated into three categories: physical, emotional and behavioral symptoms. In order for depression to be diagnosed, at least five symptoms must be present for no less than two weeks, and at least one of those five must either be persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest or pleasure.

Here are the other signs and symptoms:

Physical symptoms:

  • Fatigue.
  • Decreased energy.
  • Overeating.
  • Appetite loss.
  • Insomnia.
  • Early-morning wakefulness.
  • Excessive sleeping
  • Persistent aches or pains.
  • Headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
Emotional symptoms:

  • Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” feelings.
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism.
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness.
  • Irritability.
  • Restlessness.
  • Thoughts of suicide/suicide attempts
Behavioral symptoms:

  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, which includes sex.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Difficulty remembering details.
  • Difficulty making decisions.
  • Neglecting responsibilities.
  • Failing to attend to one´s physical appearance.

Causes of Depression

The underlying cause of depression in menopausal women has to do with hormonal imbalance, especially decreased levels of estrogen. As women approach menopause, their estrogen levels begin to drop off.

This hormone plays a big part in regulating brain functions, especially chemicals that influence mood, such as serotonin and Cortisol. Decreasing levels of estrogen during menopause can also cause other physical and mental symptoms, such as hot flashes and anxiety, which can lead to depression.

Other causes include biochemical, genetic, personality, environmental factors and disease.

Treatment for Menopausal Symptoms:

  1. Lifestyle Changes
  2. The Manna Menopause Support Supplement, with 100% natural phyto-estrogens.