Many people talk of mood changes being a normal part of menopause. However, not only are these hormones related to reproduction they also play a role in defining the person's mood. For many women, it may just be the menopause blues but for the rest, it could lead to depression.
We reached out to Dr Manisha Ranjan, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist at Motherhood Hospitals, and asked her to help us understand how to tell if one is experiencing menopause blues or if one has clinical depression. Read on to know all that she shared.
As you enter perimenopause, you may experience mood swings. It may be hard to tell if these are just temporary or symptomatic of a more serious mental health problem. While many women go through menopause without experiencing depression, some may experience depression either as a recurrence of previous depression or for the first time in their lives. Depression can make coping with menopause very difficult or impossible. It may impact relationships and professional and personal life.
Make A Menopause Journal
The best way to differentiate normal menopause from depression is to analyse your mood. It will be ideal for you to start a journal that will help you track your mood, activity level, other menopause symptoms, and menstrual cycle for a period of three to four months. This will be convenient if you decide to talk about your symptoms with a professional.
What Is Clinical Depression?
Clinical depression, also known as major depressive disorder or unipolar depression is a serious condition characterised by intense sadness or despair that lasts more than two weeks, and that interferes with your daily life. Major depression is typically characterised by symptoms such as sadness, feelings of emptiness, loss of enjoyment of hobbies, work, other activities, weight loss, insomnia, fatigue, loss of appetite, and the constant thought of dying.
Causes Of Midlife Depression
There are ample reasons why women in their 40's may experience depression; it may be biological, situational, or psychological. Factors such as hormonal changes, response to loss, medical conditions, and drug and alcohol use may contribute to depression. Symptoms of depression while undergoing menopause may be common, but they may vary depending on severity.
Menopause And Age
Some studies suggest have found that women with a longer reproductive period are likely to not get depressed, the reason being longer exposure to estrogen produced by the body.
Treatment For Depression
Symptoms of depression during menopause may be the same but they may vary in terms of severity. Try these coping methods:
- It's okay to feel sad or down for a day or two. Even grief following a major loss is normal for up to a year. But if these symptoms persist then it is mandatory to talk to a psychologist or a counselor about your condition. Or alternatively, you may seek interpersonal or cognitive behavioral therapy as these two therapies have helped a lot of women deal with depression.
- Natural remedies may be an effective way of managing depression for women who experience symptoms that are not so severe. You can try everything from special teas to herbal supplements to keep your symptoms in check.
- It is not common for women going through menopause to experience insomnia. Hot flashes and other physical changes can all affect your sleep cycle and eventually your mood. Focus on getting better sleep by meditating which may also improve your mood.
- There are several other women out there who are going through menopause and understand what it feels like first-hand. To understand your situation better, read a book on the subject, join a support group, or look it up online.
Depression is not uncommon in a woman's life during menopause, but when these symptoms persist, it might be more than just menopause.
What would you like to know about menopause? Please share it with us in the comments below!