Anxiety and depression can be two of the most serious symptoms that come with menopause. They not only affect women’s mental health, but they bring harm to the ones we love: our family and our partners.
It could affect us physically and emotionally, dragging down everything else that gives spark to our lives; leaving us in a dark cage made by our minds that can even lead us to question our mortality and our purpose in life. These issues represent only a few of the problems that we should work hand in hand to battle. It’s a good thing there are various methods we can employ to successfully defeat these complications, which often rob our smiles and dim our brightest glows.
Why Anxiety and Depression Happens
First, let us distinguish the difference between anxiety and depression. Anxiety is a general term that pertains to a psychological state of nervousness, fear and worrying. Depression, on the other hand, is intense sadness or low mood from an uncertain cause that exceeds two weeks. Both are attributable to several factors that might be biological, psychological or cultural. And both could seriously affect the quality of our daily lives.
Studies suggest that women are more likely to experience depression and anxiety than men. We can say that chemical imbalances in the body are also responsible for these changes. During perimenopause and menopause, levels of hormones like estrogen and progesterone become unstable. Inconsistency among these hormonal levels also affects the chemicals in the brain that result in mood changes. Research indicates that women who undergo continuous anxiety and depression during perimenopause most likely become worse when they approach the menopausal stage. However, after the menopause stage, these women improve significantly. On the other hand, women who are confident and have higher self-esteem barely notice the difference when they approach the menopausal period.Studies suggest that women are more likely to experience depression and anxiety than men. Click To Tweet
There is a complex connection between depression and anxiety and sexuality. At times, depression can occur because of a problem with sexual activity. However, depression can also cause sexual problems. If you think about it, a woman may get depressed because she has lost her sexual desire, but she can also lose her sexual urge because she is feeling depressed.
In conjunction with unstable hormones, life stressors can also intensify depression and anxiety. Troubled sleep, night sweats, infertility, and weight gain can lead to constant worrying in women. Changes in the family, grown-up kids, the end of family life, physical changes, and anxiety about aging can all pile up and make the case of depression worse. It is important to dig into these issues. Find solutions to the problems, and choose to look on the bright side. If the situation seems to spinning out of control, if it’s starting to affect your life and the lives of the people you care most about, it’s always best to consult with a professional.
Deficiencies in progesterone are also cited as a cause of anxiety and depression in menopausal women. During a woman’s cycle, estrogen and progesterone usually move in harmony. They have similar fluctuations and, working together, they’re able to control a woman’s bleeding and help her to feel good. The same goes with the menopausal stage. The drop in estrogen leads to the drop in progesterone. And because progesterone is classified as a woman’s “calming hormone,” this is where the problem begins. The decrease of progesterone can easily lead to stress in women. It can also result in anxiety, palpitation and headaches. Panic attacks feed on stress and anxiety.
How to Feel Better
Acknowledge your anxiety and depression
Acceptance of your emotions is one of the best keys to treating the problem. If you are anxious or depressed, accept that you are. Avoid denial, because it will only make it harder for you to feel better. Once you have accepted that you are indeed feeling off, it will then be easier for you to motivate yourself to move on and come back even stronger.Acceptance of your emotions is one of the best keys to treating anxiety and depression.Click To Tweet
Maintain a healthy diet
What you eat affects your overall health. Some foods that we consume can trigger changes in our bodies. Those foods that contain refined sugar and caffeine should be avoided. Caffeine has components that trigger heart palpitations and anxiety. It can also lead to chemical imbalances in the body and disruptions in hormones. Drinking coffee may also be a stress factor because it may lead to feelings of exhaustion. And long-term feelings of tiredness may lead to depression.
Be sure to eat healthy foods that nourish the body. Nutritious meals can also help to balance hormones, which will in turn enhance overall wellness.
Avoid alcohol and smoking
Alcohol contains components that may worsen anxiety and depression. Moreover, it can affect the quality of sleep, which may lead to exhaustion. It may also cause mood swings and exacerbate hormonal imbalances in the body, which may intensify menopausal symptoms such as depression and anxiety.
Smoking, on the other hand, will make things worse. Many people smoke cigarettes because they think they will calm their nerves. The sad part is, they are wrong. In fact, according to one study by the National Institutes of Health, smoking does increase anxiety.
Exercise is a proven treatment for depression and anxiety. It alleviates stress, because our body produces endorphins (hormones that make us happy) when we move and sweat. Regular exercise will also make us feel good about ourselves. It leads us to a healthier physique that prevents us from illnesses while also increasing our confidence and self-esteem, leading to a better mental state.
Meditation, like yoga, has been widely suggested as a treatment for depression and anxiety. The movements and breathing techniques regulate the blood flow and relieve stress. By meditating, we also get rid of toxins, which could bring harm to the body as well as the mind. Meditation can also bring harmony and peace to the mind, and over the long-term, this will lead to optimism and the elimination of unwanted thoughts.
Consider herbal treatments
Numerous herbal products that alleviate stress and anxiety are now available at health stores. One of the well-known herbal cures for depression is St. John’s wort. This herb has been traditionally used as an alternative treatment for various illnesses. Not only can it relieve depression, but it is also effective in relieving other menopausal symptoms.
There are tons of herbal products that can help to improve depression. These medicinal herbs not only cure depression, but also cure other symptoms of menopause. Some of the magnificent herbs that you can consider are Chasteberry, Rhodiola, Maca Root, Licorice, Ginseng, and Ginkgo Biloba.
In Ayurveda, or traditional Indian Medicine, natural treatments are used to address problems with anxiety and depression. The list includes the following natural remedies for this concern:
- Basil leaves and yogurt
- Fenugreek, Fennel and Cardamom Seeds
- Almond with Milk or better yet Almondmilk
- Lemon drank as juice or used as balm
- Triphala powder and Brahmi powder
- Amla with Nutmeg
Consider Using Supplements for Menopause
If you’re experiencing anxiety and depression during menopause, you may want to consider using supplements that support your hormones. There are plenty of supplements in the market made of herbs, natural ingredients and organic sources. They usually contain 5-HTP, GABA and serotonin which are all precursors of a lot of your mood hormones.
Seek professional help
When symptoms become worse, some women seek medical help and undergo hormone replacement therapy. However, several healthcare professionals do not advise the use of HRT for psychological complications due to its accompanying side effects. Instead, some suggest the use of anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medications for relief. A lot of experts first advise the more natural approach to fight these symptoms, including lifestyle changes, changes in views, or a new diet. Nevertheless, getting better is possible, and there will always be a solution to these problems if you continue to seek it.
Learn More about Anxiety and Depression
Watch and learn about hormonal balance and brain chemistry from a short talk by Hormone and Menopause expert Mia Lundin. Find valuable information about why anxiety and depression affect many women during menopause (5:19):
Are you suffering from anxiety and depression? What do you do to feel better? We'd like to hear from you! Share your story with us below.