Depression and Menopause: Weathering Change

For most women, menopause is not a particularly enjoyable process to go through. The body’s changing hormone distribution causes several uncomfortably physical symptoms throughout the process. But those hormones can also impact how we feel. We’re not conscious of it as such, but we’re used to going through daily life with certain chemical and hormonal responses to what we encounter. Changes can be hard to adjust to: it’s part of why adolescence is so rocky (among other things), and it can make menopause a time of difficult transition as well.

A typical list of emotional symptoms accompanying menopause will include irritability, sadness, loss of energy, excessive sleep, crying, feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, and no longer enjoying things that had before been pleasurable. That sounds a lot like depression, doesn’t it? And new research has found that women who experience primary ovarian insufficiency, a type of early menopause, are also particularly prone to depression while they’re going through the process.

So what can be done about this? If the depression is directly linked to hormonal changes, one might think that therapists can’t help: after all, they’re unlikely to uncover a secret emotional cause of the depression. And to some extent, the hormones do need to take their course. Women have gone through this for years, and will continue to do so. But counseling and therapy don’t exist simply to help people discover the “why” of their problems: they exist to help people understand what they’re going through, learn how to respond to their symptoms, and to take control of their lives. It also happens that menopause comes at a time in life that is often transitional as well: kids are becoming adults, and adults are starting to feel a little older. Menopause’s depressive symptoms may start with hormones, but they can coincide with, and exacerbate, other feelings that a therapist or counselor can help women explore. If you’re feeling down, there’s no reason not to get some help and guidance, to ensure it doesn’t get worse.

© Copyright 2010 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • 1 comment
  • Leave a Comment
  • olivia

    olivia

    December 7th, 2010 at 2:23 PM

    menopause has caused all sorts of problems to many women and I personally know of women who have suffered due to menopause yet when you ask them to seek help they say it is a natural process,it happens to everyone and its not a disorder to seek help for!

    this attitude needs to change.yes,its not a disorder but it definitely is something that is troubling you.and when something is troubling you,you seek help!

Leave a Comment

By commenting you acknowledge acceptance of GoodTherapy.org's Terms and Conditions of Use.

* Indicates required field.

 

Advanced Search

Search Our Blog

   
GoodTherapy.org is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptom or medical condition. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on GoodTherapy.org.