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Depression and Anxiety
What Causes Depression & Anxiety?
Symptoms of sadness, stress and ultimately depression affect many women as early as their mid-thirties and increasingly as they approach menopause. The hormonal imbalance onset at the beginning of perimenopause or menopause interferes with the body’s ability to manage the stress of life, endogenous and exogenous stressors become overwhelming, and the decision-making processes as well and natural coping mechanisms are negatively affected.
With advancing age comes a growing, changing load of responsibilities. A variety of physical and emotional symptoms often appear with the onset of significant hormonal imbalances, leaving women overwhelmed and stressed. This often becomes catalyst for clinical and subclinical depression.
Depression is often diagnosed and treated with antidepressants in women with some of the following symptoms:
- Depressed Mood
- Short temper
- Inability to solve problems and make decisions
- Fears: flying, going out, socializing,,,, etc.
- Inability to continue working due to mental fog and other symptoms
- Loss of interest or pleasure in life
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Appetite changes
- Abnormal changes in sleep patterns
- Fatigue & loss of energy
- Thoughts of death & suicide
The Roles of Hormones
A thorough evaluation by any health care professional of a woman who is in the perimenopausal or menopausal years with one or more of the above symptoms makes the diagnosis of depression very likely. The next step, however, is crucial. Treatment with antidepressants is usually a first line therapy, but physicians and patients are cautioned to consider the high likelihood that the symptoms may be prompted by hormonal imbalances that are best treated with bioidentical hormone therapy.
Progesterone and estrogen are sex hormones that create and stimulate the production of serotonin, the ultimate feel good hormone in the brain. When well balanced, these hormones keep us from experiencing the symptoms of depression and give us the ability to deal with stress. Youthful levels of progesterone and estrogen decrease as we enter perimenopause and menopause and their diminution decreases serotonin levels and with it our happiness and coping ability.
Decreased or abnormal levels of progesterone may also trigger insomnia and contribute to irritability and PMS in young women. Imbalances of cortisol levels, the stress hormone, can create irritability, food cravings and insomnia at high levels and extreme fatigue, decreased sex drive and inability to handle stress when at low levels.
Some women experience sudden and dramatic hormonally induced depression subsequent to hysterectomy, oophorectomy, sudden traumatic events, or because of a genetic history of mood disorders. In addition, stressful factors, such as work, family and unhealthy lifestyles significantly contribute to depression and anxiety during perimenopause and menopause.
Naturally rebalancing hormones after a decrease in hormone levels caused by perimenopause and menopause is vital to restoring a less stressful, more functional, positive, and overall healthy outlook and coping mechanisms for women in the middle years.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) with natural hormones provides a gentle, safe and effective way to restore hormonal balance, relieving many of the symptoms associated with aging, including depression and anxiety, and resulting in the recovery of youthful feeling and vitality.
Unlike the synthetic hormones (HRT), which are produced from pregnant horse urine estrogens and have been found to have long-term negative effects on women's health, bioidentical hormones are exact replicas of the hormones produced naturally by our bodies.
Diet, exercise, and proper nutritional supplementation also play an important role in offsetting depression and decreasing stress reactions and damage to the body.
To assess your symptoms and to learn more about how bioidentical hormones and other safe and effective tools of Age Management medicine can lead to hormonal balance and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, contact a certified RestoreMD doctor in your area.