Your Mental Health During Menopause

On October 19, 2022

Your Mental Health during Menopause

While menstrual related mental health struggles have slowly become less taboo to talk about, menopause often tends to be the less discussed step sister. In many circles it is accepted that women will go through hot flashes, sleep disturbance, changing libido and mood disturbance, while often enduring it as best they can. However, studies show that many women can go through depression, anxiety, irritability, agitation and even brain fog as a result of fluctuating hormones during this time. Perimenopause is a period that can precede the last menstrual cycle by 5-8 years and can range from the 40s or even sooner for some women and go all the way to the mid 50s. This can be a challenging time also for other reasons due to relationship changes (women can go through divorce), children leaving the home, aging parents who may require more caregiving and changing roles at home and in one’s careers.

However, the good news is that these mental health struggles are often temporary and can be successfully treated by psychotherapy and antidepressants as well as other medication options. Having a history of depression or anxiety can intensify these symptoms for some women and hot flashes can also trigger panic symptoms in others while sleep disturbance and brain fog can certainly make functioning at one’s best challenging.

What to do:

    • Limit caffeine
    • Avoid alcohol
    • Get adequate sleep
    • Nurture relationships and make time for supportive friendships
    • Take steps to better manage stress like making time to drink a cup of herbal tea, garden, or read
    • Engage in regular exercise like walking, yoga or cardiovascular activity for 30 mins or more

While the above steps can alleviate symptoms in some, for others seeing a licensed clinical therapist and or a psychiatrist may be an important step in symptom control and improving quality of life. I often hear my patients say, “I just don’t know why I waited as long as I did because I feel so much more like myself now!” Or others will say, “I felt like I finally had time with my husband but I was so short fused and irritable that it made it hard. Now I feel like we have been able to connect again!”

Remember, menopause is often the next chapter in a woman’s life and while it means that your body is changing, it can also be an empowering time when one can decide to give back to themselves.

– Dr. Traci D’Almeida, M.D.

About The Author

Traci D’Almeida
Dr. Traci D'Almeida is Board certified Adult Psychiatrist who has specialized in Consultation Liaison Psychiatry and believes that time in nature can be healing for the mind and body.

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