It is well known that menopause can trigger feelings of sadness and episodes of depression in some women over 40 – women are often at increased risk for depression when they reach midlife. The main reasons for menopausal depression are unclear but many medical practitioners think that menopause depression could be related to a personal or family history of depression, and/or to the life stressors and life changes that come after 50.
MENOPAUSE DEPRESSION risk factors and causes
- Hormonal changes may contribute to moodiness – during perimenopause and menopause estrogen levels gradually decline, which some studies suggest may bring on depression. Low estrogen levels at menopause are associated with lower levels of serotonin, which is a chemical that regulates mood, emotions and sleep. Two other neurotransmitters in particular are implicated in depression. They are noradrenalin and dopamine. So, the hormonal changes at menopause may make women more susceptible to depression.
- Stressful life – daily stresses such as dealing with ageing parents, the death of parents, coping with adolescent children, “empty nest” syndrome, loss of job, unemployment, career change, lack of social support and financial or marital difficulties.
- Life history of different kinds of abuse – domestic abuse, childhood sexual abuse, and alcohol or drug abuse.
- Infertility – absence or loss of ability to have babies could create long depression and strongly affect women.
- Fear of aging and menopause – those who are negative about the menopause (family history, life experiences) and worry that it is the beginning of old age may become anxious or depressed.
- Past history of depression and/or chronic illnesses and/or family history of depressive illness – these components can make menopausal women more likely to develop depression.
- Low socio-economic status and lack of social support place women more at risk.
- “Forced menopause” – women whose menopause is brought on by surgery and/or some forced treatments are also more at risk for depression.
MENOPAUSE DEPRESSION symptoms
The most common menopause depression symptoms include:
- Mood swings – two or more weeks of depressed mood,
- Decreased interest or pleasure in activities,
- Change in appetite,
- Change in sleep patterns – sleep disturbance and sleep deprivation,
- Fatigue or loss of energy or lethargy,
- Difficulty concentrating,
- Excessive feelings of guilt or worthlessness,
- Negative feelings – feeling not respected, not loved and ignored;
- Difficulty in coping or making decisions and/or loss of confidence,
- Extreme restlessness and/or irritability and/or anxiety,
- Thoughts of suicide.
Depression itself and perimenopause/menopause share several similar symptoms, including sleep problems, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, decreased interest or pleasure in activities and difficulty concentrating. Because of this, depression can go undiagnosed and untreated in menopausal women who could think these symptoms are just temporary symptoms and just typical symptoms of natural menopause.
MENOPAUSE DEPRESSION prevention
Menopause depression can be prevented if healthy lifestyle would be properly implemented:
- Physical activity and exercise may relieve many of the common physical and emotional symptoms around menopause – 30 minutes of moderate exercises five times per week can improve the quality and quantity of life. Regular exercises strengthen long-term ability to deal with stress, anxiety and possibly depression. Same exercises can dramatically improve sleeping disorders.
- Regular exercises can prevent menopausal weight gain which could be pretty depressive in women – thanks to regular exercises women can lose fat, control body weight and appetite over the long term.
- Healthy diet during menopause is essential – food with lots of vegetables, fruits and fibre enhances well-being.
- Life full of light – the association between darkness and depression is well established. Bright light therapy for women in menopause can prevent depression symptoms – daily bright light therapy is recommended for a set period of time especially for shorter days and limited sun. Modern market is full of effective bright lights which could be used regularly during breakfast or in offices or at evening relaxation time.
- Relaxed life – relaxation, meditation and yoga demonstrated positive effect in some women with potential depression.
- Life full of activities – some women find it helpful to develop new interests, hobbies and activities (sport, music, gardening, religion or dancing).
LIGHT THERAPY – Easy, safe and effective treatment for menopause depression
During last decades scientists have discovered that many of our key “mood” hormones are regulated by light. Modern medicine is using light therapy in many cases – it could be prescribed by psychiatrists, psychologists and/or family doctors, and is considered the most effective non-pharmaceutical treatment for depression. The effectiveness of the light therapy is high because it treats one of the primary causes of depression – low serotonin levels in the brain.
Human emotions and mood are regulated by 2 happy hormones – Serotonin & Melatonin. Serotonin is produced during day time and Melatonin is produced at night. Lack of day light and low levels of Serotonin can cause irritability and depression during menopause.
Syrcadian Blue Light Therapy Device for SAD
A great deal of research has been performed over the past two decades, focusing specifically on the chemical processes responsible for the production of serotonin stimulated by light and especially by blue light.
In 2002 the prestigious journal Science announced that a breakthrough discovery had been made concerning light and serotonin (so called “happy hormone”). A new set of light sensitive receptors in the eye were discovered – it was proved that these receptors are not used for vision but linked directly to the production of serotonin, and the regulation of melatonin and other hormones. Syrcadian BlueTM light therapy device has been engineered to stimulate the light sensitive receptors in the eye in a safe, effective and non-distracting manner.
Philips goLITE BLU Light Therapy Device
Philips “goLITE BLU Plus” energy light is the number-one energy light sold worldwide – this light is clinically proven to naturally boost your mood and energy and fight menopause depression in as little as 15-20 minutes a day. Featuring breakthrough Bluewave technology, “goLITE BLU Plus” provides the blue light you need to naturally boost your mood and energy whatever the season – it can prevent your sadness, irritability, anxiety and some other symptoms of menopause depression.
This portable deluxe energy light is rechargeable and features an easy-to-use touch screen and a digital backlit clock with timer for convenient use. And thanks to its lightweight and special portable design, the “goLITE BLU Plus” can go wherever you need it – at home, in the office and/or on the go.
NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp
You can experience the powerful mood healing effect with NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp – it bathes you in Sky Effect light while simultaneously releasing healthy negative ions into the atmosphere. This modern light system can lift your spirits with the special combination that balances your mood, body clock, leaving you feeling rested, keeping you refreshed and nourished all over.
Combination of well designed light and ions change mood of depressed person, stabilize body internal rhythms and strengthen body systems responsible for mood and depression. If you use “NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp” during 30-35 minutes every day, you can change your mood, spirits, sleep cycles, potential energy and concentration ability. This Lamp can also alleviate the unpleasant symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
MENOPAUSE DEPRESSION – medical treatment
Antidepressant medications are an important treatment option for menopause depression especially for women who are moderately or severely depressed. Antidepressants should be prescribed by your doctor.
In some cases of menopause depression the hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can be effective – it is discovered that estrogen may help fight depression in the early stages of menopause. Although an exact connection has not yet been established, estrogen therapy may be useful in combination with other treatments for depression.
Untreated depression in menopause women can increase their risk of developing other serious medical conditions such as heart attack, loss of bone mineral density and increased risk of fractures.
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