The period of life known as midlife; and often associated with the term “midlife crisis”, has been rejected by academic research since the 1980s. The basis of the rejection is that the idea of “midlife crisis” as a stage that the majority of adults go through is not an accurate assumption. One study indicated less than 10% of persons’ in the US actually experienced a psychological crisis due to the phase of life known as midlife. The study went on to speculate that those10% of persons’, who experienced psychological issues during this stage of life, were more predisposed to these symptoms because of their personality type and having had a history of psychological issues in the past.
Women’s Mental Health: Menopause, Depression and Anxiety Symptoms
One variant to this research relates to the midlife changes women experience when they go through peri-menopause and menopause. This period of life for women is often associated with increased risk for depression. Some symptoms typically reported to occur during this period of life include: mood swings, grumpiness or irritability, crying and tearfulness, stress and anxiety and feelings of desolation and despair. Although these feelings are fairly common in women during the years leading up to menopause, the reason for them isn’t always clear.
Research, on women going through peri-menopause and menopause, shows that symptoms like sleep problems, hot flashes, night sweats, and fatigue are capable of significantly affecting mood and a woman’s sense of well-being. It is speculated that a decline in estrogen levels, during the peri-menopausal and menopausal periods, could have a negative affect on a woman’s mood. It is further speculated that peri-menopausal and menopausal feelings are related to a combination of hormone changes.
Changes in a woman’s mood during the peri-menopausal and menopausal periods can also have causes unrelated to menopause. Although the causes for the changes in mood that can occur during the peri-menopausal and menopausal periods are not clear, if a woman experiences any of the symptoms described below, it is critical that she talk about them with her doctor. Other situations that could be causing feelings of depression and/or anxiety during peri-menopause and menopause are: 1.) experiencing depression before the peri-menopausal and menopausal periods, 2.) having negative feelings about menopause and ageing, 3.) having heightened stress, 4.) having acute menopausal symptoms, 5.) being a smoker, 6.) having a low activity level, 7.) being unhappy in a relationship or not being in a relationship, 8.) having low self-esteem, 9.) having an absence of a good social support network and 10.) having feelings of disappointment related to not being able to have more children.
Women’s Mental Health: Menopause, Depression and Anxiety- Ways to Feel Better
If your symptoms are interfering with your ability to function adequately in your day-to-day life, then you need to talk with your physician or a mental health professional as you may need treatment. Depression during the peri-menopausal and menopausal periods is treated in much the same way as depression that occurs during other times of life. Besides, talking to your physician or a mental health provider to determine whether your depression and anxiety require medical treatment, there are some others things you can do to help reduce the emotional affects of the peri-menopausal and menopausal periods. These activities are: getting enough sleep, consistently going to bed and waking up at the same times, maintaining a cool and dark bedroom, using your bed only for sleeping and sex, not drinking alcohol and caffeine, avoiding eating large amounts of food at meals and in between meals, minimizing the physical activity you participate in right before bedtime (but be sure to partake in at least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 to 6 times a week) and looking for positive ways to relax and ease daily stress.
Women’s Mental Health: Menopause, Depression and Anxiety- A few More Ways to Feel Better
A couple of other ideas for helping yourself during the peri-menopausal and menopausal periods are to talk to friends or participate in a support group for women going through the same phase of life. Also talk through your symptoms and fears with a physician or therapist. The symptoms you experience during peri-menopause and menopause may respond positively to hormone therapy and antidepressants might also help.
Mental Health and Women
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