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How To Deal With Depression In Menopause

Learn how to deal with depression during the menopause. There are lots of options that can help you.

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Physicians are often quick to reach for the prescription pad and send depressed women away with a bottle of Prozac. But although antidepressant drugs can have their place in the treatment of menopause depression, there are a lot of other beneficial tactics you can use to help you through a bout of depression.

Before you think about how to deal with depression, ask yourself a simple, but searching question: What is causing your depression?

You, and you alone, know if stress at work has become too much for you. If your relationship with your significant other makes you feel frustrated...neglected...unloved. If your children's growing independence leaves you mourning the loss of your mothering role. If you spend too much time tending to the needs of others - and precious little time nurturing your own wellbeing.

Take positive action

Feeling good about your looks can help to lift depression
ŠIstockphoto.com/Stefan Witas

The way your looks are changing as you age can also be a concern. This is a time to pay attention to weight loss in menopause, so you look better and feel healthier and stronger.

Midlife can also be a fruitful time to delve deeper, into deep-seated concerns that might have nagged at you for years. Have you suffered abuse, now or in the past? Have there been losses in your life which you've not fully grieved? Are you full of pent-up anger, with nowhere safe to let it out?

By the time midlife arrives, most women have lived through a multitude of experiences, good and bad, all of which have left their traces.

If you're wondering how to deal with depression, it's true that you might be cast down by the physical challenges of menopause, and the knowledge that you really are moving into a later stage of your life. But it's equally possible that other elements and stresses in your life have a larger part to play in the way you feel.

Menopause expert Christian Northrup, in her book The Wisdom of Menopause takes a brave and truthful stance when she looks at how to deal with menopause depression. She says: 'The best cure for depression is to be completely honest about your feelings especially the difficult ones like guilt, anger - they must be achknowledged, expressed and accepted - then act.'

Taking positive and creative action is a great way to tackle depression. Making changes now can bolster you right through midlife and into your later years. It may be that introducing new activies and outlets into your life will be enough to boost you up and out of depression.

Volunteering for a cause that interests you can be stimulating and rewarding. Or rediscover your creative side and learn to dance, paint, sing, horse-ride...taking time out, even if it's only an hour or two a week, can revitalise you and point you in new directions that can be very life-enhancing and help to keep the blues at bay. Many of the best ways to relieve stress are also great for lifting mild depression.

What if you've uncovered deep-rooted emotional problems, or dissatisfactions with your current situation? It takes courage and openness to tackle these areas of your life, perhaps through counselling or therapy, or by making the decision to quit a job or relationship that no longer sustains you. But if you've seen the warning signs of depression for some months, this might be the best - perhaps the only - way forward.

At the same time as you turn the spotlight on your thoughts and feelings, you can support yourself in many ways.

Treatments for depression

Drug treatments for depression aren't the catch-all answer to everything, but they can support you in the short-term and give you the energy and motivation to change. Be aware that some antidepressants cause weight gain.

Talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy can also help you unravel your concerns and find acceptance and peace.

Natural cures for depression

There's a large range of natural remedies for depression, including herbs and dietary supplements. Be careful how you approach these cures for depression, as some herbal preparations are very powerful and can have unpleasant side effects.

Exercise and depression

It's well worth exploring the link between exercise and depression. Exercise has so many benefits for body and mind. And of course, you can use exercise to lose weight, and to raise your spirits.

Diet and depression

Diet and depression - what you eat, and when you eat can make a big difference to your wellbeing and mood. Using diet to tackle depression makes big sense during the menopausal years.

Finding out how to deal with depression in the way that's best for you can involve making longterm and rewarding changes right across the spectrum of your life.

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