Depression can occur at any time in our lives but it seems to be particularly prevalent in menopausal women. Doctors and scientists are divided about whether the depression is caused by a change in the balance of the hormones, or by associated factors such as lack of sleep and fatigue brought on by other symptoms of menopause. Menopause depression is classified as two consecutive weeks or more of feeling in a depressed mood during menopause. This is often accompanied with a general listlessness, irritability, lack of concentration, feelings of worthlessness, lack of appetite and in extreme cases suicidal thoughts.
It is important to visit your doctor as untreated depression often leads to more serious problems such as heart problems and even malnutrition. Your doctor will also be able to rule out any physical causes for the depression. Once the doctor is sure that the depression is menopausal related, depending on your level of depression, you may be prescribed a number of treatments. For moderate to severe depression antidepressants are usually prescribed these should be taken with care as you may become dependent on them. Another option is the use of hormone replacement therapy. This may go some way to treating the underlying causes of depression. In some cases a series of sessions with a psychologist or psychiatrist can prove to be helpful, as they can teach you how to deal with the feeling and thoughts you are having.
In mild cases regular exercise and a change of diet can have a very positive effect. Cutting down on the amount of caffeine and alcohol usually leads to a marked improvement. 30 minutes of exercise a day will have a positive effect on your depression and help you to feel more energetic. In a recent test 30 depressed people were asked to exercise and 30 were asked to just sit and do nothing. Both during and after the test they were asked to rate how they felt. All the people who exercised said they felt better, while none of the people sitting felt any changes.
Taking time to talk about your depression can also help. Talking to support groups or family members can suddenly make your fears seem irrational. Spending time analyzing how you feel and then vocalizing it to people who won’t judge you is often the first step to getting over your depression.