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Medicare Part D

 

Menopause And Depression

As many as 8 to 15 percent of women experience some form of depression as menopause sets in, most commonly during the period known as perimenopause, the period where menstruation becomes less frequent but menopause may not have fully set in. This period is physically and emotionally stressful in many ways.

It’s not fully understood why the incidence of depression during menopause is so high. One theory is that the depression is triggered by elevated stress levels caused by menopause. Menopause is accompanied by sleep disruptions, hot flashes, headaches, and many other complications. For some woman, there are urinary complications and weight issues to consider as well. For some women in today’s high stress society, it may just be the straw - or the haystack of symptoms all coming on at once - that breaks the camel’s back.

Another theory is that the many changes in hormone balance that are happening at this time have an effect on the neurotransmitter balance of the brain. As hormones shift, the brain’s emotion systems get thrown out of balance as well, leading to mood shifts which can result in depression.

Treatment For Depression During Menopause

Hormone replacement therapy is one option for treatment of menopause related depression. If the depression is hormonally influenced, then using hormone replacement therapy can affect a stabilization of moods and help control depression. However, if the depression is not hormonal in nature, then the hormone replacement therapy should not be continued for too long, because long term hormone replacement therapy has been linked to elevated risk of heart disease and breast cancer.

Antidepressants

Antidepressant therapy is a widespread treatment for depression. Although it is not necessarily a final solution, antidepressants can help address the symptoms of depression while the body settles down and the stressors that are causing the depression can be dealt with in a productive fashion. Most antidepressants that are in current use are members of a class called SSRIs: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. These drugs help conserve the depressed brain’s inadequate supply of serotonin to control depression symptoms.

Psychotherapy

Many patients find that in addition to chemical treatments, they have significant benefits from taking psychotherapy. This provides the opportunity to figure out what is going on with them emotionally and deal with the cause of the emotional distress, allowing depressed patients an increased sense of control. Along with pharmaceutical treatment, this can be key in controlling your menopausal depression.

 

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