Menopause Depression - How To Understand And Treat Menopausal Depression

Menopause depression - when the Black Dog strikes in midlife - is a major health challenge that affects many women in the menopausal years.


Women are at the sharp end when it comes to suffering with depression. More than a quarter experience a major depression at some stage of their lives, and far more antidepressant drugs are prescribed to women, than to men.

You'd think that the menopause must be at least partly to blame, but in fact there's no hard and fast evidence to show that it's the menopause that causes women's depression.

Unbalanced hormones and declining oestrogen levels may have some impact on mental wellbeing, but often women in their forties and fifties are also re-assessing their lives. It's a stage when women surface after all-engulfing years of child-rearing or career-building to find themselves getting older and wondering - what now?

If you take a long hard look at your life, and don't like what you see - or don't know where to head next - that can be enough to tip you towards a menopause depression.

What is menopause depression?

Menopause and depression
ŠIstockphoto.com/Eduardo Jose Bernardino
Depression is not simply a chemical imbalance in the brain. It's brought about by the very way you choose to live day to day, by your expectations, hopes and dreams, and whether those are met.

Perimenopausal depression can spring up as a sign that all is not well in your life. Somewhere you're suffering the effects of stress because of an imbalance, or an unresolved sorrow or anger.

Perhaps you've lost your sense of purpose and joy in life. Maybe you feel unfairly burdened by other people's demands, with little or no time to tend to your own needs, or you feel stuck in a job or a relationship that no longer satisfies and nurtures you.

Yes, your fluctuating hormone levels and your symptoms of menopause, if strong or uncomfortable, can contribute to a menopausal depression. But it pays to look to the underlying causes, if you want to be free of depression and are willing to make the necessary changes in your life.

Effects of menopause depression

Depression had many effects, physical and mental. It:
  • Takes away any pleasure in life, and robs you of the energy and motivation to make things better for yourself.
  • Can change the way you look, making you slouch or slump, walk and speak slowly, have a blank expression and stop caring about your appearance.
  • Affects appetite, so either you lose any enjoyment of food, stop eating and lose weight; or you comfort eat the whole time and put weight on.
  • Impacts on the adrenal system and can lead to raised cortisol levels, which contibute to menopausal weight gain.
  • Raises your risk of developing osteoporosis and coronary artery disease.

Find out more about the warning signs of menopause depression, and how to deal with depression.

Explore the treatments for depression.

These include natural remedies for depression and ways to adjust your diet to help with depression and use exercise to combat depression.

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