Find tips on dealing with depression with nutrition, the role of hormones in how we feel – and how this relates to peri menopause. Learn why distinguishing between clinical and non-clinical depression is important at menopause, and how the symptoms of the two overlap. Who is really at risk of depression during midlife? Enlarge ImageWhen we age, we produce less of two important mood stabilizing hormones, serotonin and dopamine. So, depression is a risk factor for both men and women as we get older. Yet twice as many women compared to men suffer from depression, which leads some to believe there is a link between the female sex hormones and depression.
1. Memory loss at midlife may not be related to aging, but depression. Depression affects our ability to concentrate and remember things. Our mind instead is caught in a cycle of self blame, guilt, or hopelessness,
2. Of the studies that differentiate between major depression and minor depression, an increase in minor depression (ie. non-clinical) is reported, rather than an increase in major depressive episodes,
3. Major depression is characterized by feeling sad or tearful all, or most of the time. Other symptoms include losing interest in regular activities and engaging in day to day life.
4. Those that seem to be at risk of suffering from major depression during menopause are those that have suffered major depression at some other time in their lives. This can include postnatal depression, severe depression associated with PMS, or any other type of clinical depression.
5. Some of the symptoms of perimenopause are also the symptoms of depression, so it’s important to consider the whole picture. These common symptoms include tiredness, weight gain, insomnia, difficulties in concentration, memory loss, and a loss of interest in sex.
6. Depression is usually treated with psychological treatments and medication. The psychological treatments include cognitive behaviour therapy which looks at the negative ways we think; and Interpersonal therapy, to improve relationships.
7. Antidepressant medication covers a range including SSRI’s, SNRI’s, MAOI’s, and others. Each class has a lot of individual medications within it, and people may tolerate one well, but have side effects on others. Finding an antidepressant medication appropriate to the individual can be a trial and error endeavor.
8. Some anti-depressants – prozac and others in the category of Selective Serotonin Re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) – may cause cardiovascular problems in some people after long term use.
9. If you’re taking hormone replacement therapy, too high a dose of estrogen or androgen hormones can lead to side effects like headaches and anxiety. Synthetic progesterone treatments are also often associated with depression.
10. Caffeine and sugar, in excess, may have a negative impact on recurring depression.