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Depression

Menopause Depression

Depression can be debilitating during menopause, draining the joy from a woman's life and making everyday tasks more difficult. Because hormones are essential to the brain's ability to regulate mood, many women find themselves operating under a black cloud of depression when hormone balances begin to change.

Fortunately, there are several ways that menopausal depression can be treated to restore you to your normal thoughts, feelings and emotions.

Definition of Menopause Depression
Depression during menopause is a mood disorder characterized by symptoms of persistent sadness, apathy, and physical symptoms, caused by the onset of hormonal changes in menopausal women.

In order to be clinically defined as depression, at least five of the symptoms of menopause depression must be present for at least two weeks, including ongoing feelings of sadness and loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. However, many women who do not meet the clinical criteria for depression can also suffer from mood swings and anxiety during menopause.

Symptoms of Depression During Menopause
- Persistent sadness
- Apathy
- Loss of interest in activities
- Insomnia
- Hypersomnia (oversleeping)
- Loss of appetite
- Weight changes
- Paranoia
- Irritability
- Difficulty concentrating
- Headaches
- Digestive problems
- Loss of energy
- Low self esteem
- Social isolation
- High anxiety

Menopause depression can affect women socially, psychologically and physically. Symptoms of menopause depression include sadness, low self worth, and feelings of dread. Some women may fall into isolation as menopause depression sets in, often worsening the depression itself.

Those who suffer from depression generally experience an extreme lack of energy, even to the point of having severe exhaustion. Severely pessimistic thoughts, high anxiety, and anger can cause women to avoid activities that were once enjoyable. Physical symptoms may also include headaches, abdominal pain, digestive problems, weight gain, appetite changes and sleeplessness. Before, during and after menopause, paranoia may appear.

What Causes Depression at Menopause?
As with most of the symptoms of menopause, hormone imbalances are largely to blame for menopausal depression.

As estrogen levels decrease, the body finds it difficult to maintain the balance of neurochemicals and stress hormones that affect mood regulation, such as serotonin and cortisol. The decline of vital hormones that occurs during menopause can lead to the chemical imbalances that contribute to clinical depression.

Additionally, the stress of other menopause symptoms such as mood swings, night sweats, insomnia and anxiety can all contribute to the development of depression in menopausal women. Stressful life changes that come with age, such as infertility and Empty Nest Syndrome, can also add to the burden of post menopause depression. Those who have suffered from depression before approaching menopause should consult their physicians or psychotherapists before taking medications or supplements.

Depression Treatment Options
Menopause depression can be treated by a variety of means. While hormone replacement therapy is often prescribed for menopausal depression, the risks of cancer, heart disease and stroke associated with the therapy often lead women to seek out safer options. Some physicians will prescribe anti-depressants to help women cope with menopause-initiated chemical imbalances. While effective for some women, many psychiatric medications also come with side effects that can complicate life during menopause.

Amberen can help eliminate symptoms of menopause depression naturally by restoring the body's hormonal balance. As Amberen supports efficient transmission of signals from the hypothalamus to the ovaries, hormonal imbalances that lie at the root of menopause depression become resolved. As the body reenters a state of hormonal harmony, chemical imbalances can dissipate, allowing symptoms of menopause depression to disappear.

Risks Associated With Depression
At its most severe, menopause depression can lead to suicidal ideation. Depression also puts a great deal of strain on relationships, and may cause problems in relationships with partners, family members and friendships. At work, menopause depression may lead to lowered productivity, missed deadlines and extended absences. Depression can also lead to a co-occurring diagnosis of chemical dependency, as women attempt to self-medicate menopausal depression with drugs or alcohol.

Depression FAQ's
When a woman suffers from depression, she can feel helpless. A woman may begin to lose focus on things that she may have had fun with before, and the feeling of despair may set in. Many women suffer from depression around the period when their menopausal transition begins and along with many other menopause symptoms, the results tend to revolve around depression. Below are a list of frequently asked questions about menopause depression and some answers:

Q: What is the definition of depression?
A: Depression refers to a particular mental frame of mind that has a negative emotional impact and results in feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Depression is also classified as a clinical disorder that can have more consequences than just sadness or even negative emotion. In order for it to be diagnosed as a clinical disorder, clinical depression results from at least two or more weeks of continuous pessimistic moods that change how a woman feels, including her thoughts and what she does.

Q: Is it normal to experience depression during menopause?
A: Yes it is a normal symptom that occurs during menopause, and often affects about one third of all menopausal women.

It has been proven that women, who are at the menopausal age, are up to four times more likely to experience depression than at any other age in life.

Q: Are there specific people that experience depression?
A: While depression is a common symptom during menopause, most women are twice more likely to suffer or experience depression than men. Aside from this, little things like a history of depression, a woman's personality and even her brain chemistry can all increase her chances of suffering from depression.

Q: What are the types of depression?
A: Depression is classified under several categories and often requires a medical diagnosis. Some types of depression only happen to women who are near the menopausal age, while others like adjustment disorder are different from depression associated with menopause. Psychotic depression is different from menopausal depression and is not linked to it. Below are the various categories of depression and how to detect them.

Major Depression
Major depression is a clinical depression that can be pro-longed for over two weeks and often results in a person feeling sad for a long period of time, withdrawal symptoms and even having a load of pessimistic thoughts. Major depression can occur at different times in a person's life or even just be a once in a lifetime occurange. It is also a common type of depression when a woman is at menopausal age.

Adjustment Disorder refers to a person's reaction to events in their life, such as those that are stressful. It is not depression in itself but lasts anywhere below six months to beyond that, which would make it chronic.

Dysthymic Disorder
This is not an intense kind of depression but it can happen over a long period of time, usually for periods longer than 12 months.

Bipolar Disorder or maniac depression is a disorder that affects the brain and can make a person experience a lot of different moods and body energy in a short period of time. This is not like the normal mood swings, bipolar disorder can have severe symptoms.

Psychotic Depression
This depression can make a person have hallucinations and even delusions which results in thinking and seeing things that are not there and thoughts that are blown out of proportion.

Postpartum Depression
This depression affects women right after they give birth.
Seasonal Affective Disorder or (SAD) usually occurs during winter and is associated with menopause.

Q: What are the symptoms of depression?
A: Depression symptoms are categorized into three types: emotional, physical and behavioral. When a person is diagnosed with clinical depression, they must show signs of at least 5 symptoms highlighted below that have been present for more than 10 days. It is important to note though, that even one of these symptoms can result in waves of sadness and inactivity.

Physical symptoms:
• Tiredness.
• Low energy levels.
• Eating too much.
• Loss of appetite.
• Restlessness.
• Waking up early frequently without reason.
• Sleeping too much.
• Body pains that are constant.
• Experiencing headache, and body cramps that do not respond to treatment.

Emotional symptoms:
• Continuous unending, feelings of loneliness and anxiety.
• Constant pessimism.
• Guilty and helplessness and constant low self esteem.
• Easily irritable.
• Restlessness.
• Suicidal thoughts.

Behavioral symptoms:
• Losing interest in fun and fulfilling activities and hobbies.
• Difficulty concentrating.
• Struggling in remembering things and details.
• Failure to make decisions.
• Being absent minded.
• Not caring for one's physical appearance.

Q: What are the warning signs of suicide?
A: When a person suffers from severe depression, suicidal tendencies can also occur. There are warning signs that you can look out for when assessing if someone has depression or not. Here are some warning signs that can indicate potential suicidal tendencies:

Warning signs:
• Sleeping and eating habits change.
• Withdrawal symptoms and self exclusion from family and friends.
• Behavior changes that can become violent and lead to rebellion.
• Drug and substance abuse.
• Unusual neglect of personal appearance.
• Noticeable personality changes.
• Constant boredom and lack of concentration and determination.
• Complaints about body pains, stress, tiredness and headaches.
• Loss of interest in pleasurable activities.
• Cannot receive recognition or gratitude.

Q: What causes depression during menopause?
A: When women reach menopausal age, their hormone levels are often off the hook. This means that there is a decrease in hormones, estrogen which produces the hormones will reduce and this leads to all kinds of feelings in a woman's body. Since depression is one of the results of this emotional imbalance, estrogen can be attributed as the root of depression for women in the menopausal age.

Estrogen in decreased levels can result in depression and there are many reasons for this, however most are associated directly with the estrogen levels in the brain that can lead to other symptoms and eventually depression.

Q: Is there a good way to deal with depression during menopause?
A: Menopausal depression is best dealt with by correcting hormonal imbalance that causes it. Changing your lifestyle and eating habits using herbal supplementation for example can help. Lifestyle changes can help a woman's mind relax and ease out of the depression. Simple things like exercise, enjoying fulfilling activities with family and friends and even doing therapy sessions can help. For more serious cases, you might require medical treatment like antidepressants.

Q: Is it true that antidepressants can have side effects?
A: Medication generally has side effects, although the side effects are different. According to official results, at least 50 percent of people who have taken antidepressant medication will suffer from some side effects mostly during their first week of treatment. Some side effects of taking antidepressants include constipation, bladder challenges and even loss of a sexual desire. Other effects may vary and can include dizziness, skin rash and even lack of sleep.