Depression In Menopause

Studies show that women are up to 4 times more likely to suffer from depression when they go through the menopause; depression is not simply feeling down; it is a mental health disorder, which is characterised by prolonged episodes of low mood and additional symptoms, including feeling helpless, worthless, anxious and sad. If you feel very low for more than 2 weeks, it's advisable to see your GP.

Symptoms of depression

In addition to the mental signs of depression mentioned above, there are often also physical symptoms, which may include:

  • weight changes and changes in appetite
  • loss of libido (sex drive)
  • disturbed sleep
  • increased susceptibility to illness

Why is menopause linked to an increased risk of depression?

The hormonal changes that take place during periomenopause and as you reach menopause can increase the risk of depression. Menopause can also be a very tough time for some women, as they struggle to deal with symptoms and they come to terms with a clear sign of ageing and the reality of reaching an important stage of life. At this time, it is also common for many women to be going through additional struggles or difficulties, such as caring for ill or ageing parents, saying goodbye to children who are moving out or going off to university or travelling abroad.

Treating depression

Sometimes, self-help techniques, such as exercising and talking to friends or relatives can help, but often, other treatments are required, especially in cases of severe depression. Treatment methods may include medication and therapies, such as counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy. If symptoms of menopause are contributing to depression, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be recommended.

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