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Anxiety and Menopause: No, You're Not Crazy!

From the Menopause and Hormones Articles List

Woman wondering if she is crazy from anxiety during menopauseIs anxiety a symptom of menopause or am I losing my mind?


Before you hit menopause, you were likely expecting the hot flashes and sleep issues that go along with that stage of life. Those are, after all, common menopause symptoms. What you may not have been prepared for are the anxiety, panic attacks, and depression which can also arrive with menopause.

Menopause can both directly and indirectly cause all sorts of symptoms, including mood and stress issues. For one, perimenopause brings with it a lot of hormonal imbalance as your hormone levels follow a roller coaster of ups and downs.

Estrogen also plays many roles when it comes to your sense of well-being. It influences brain function through blood supply, nerve growth, and estrogen receptors located there. It also affects neurotransmitter chemicals, like serotonin, endrophin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which are associated with stress and moods. When your estrogen levels fluctuate widely, the levels of chemicals in your brain can also fluctuate, affecting your anxiety levels.

Progesterone plays a role in your moods and stress levels, too. It can be critical for reducing anxiety and alleviating depression. Since progesterone levels begin dropping during menopause, it contributes to anxiety issues.

In addition, both estrogen and progesterone are needed for good sleep. If one or both are off, you can find you are restless, can't fall asleep, don't stay asleep, and end up exhausted. When you are sleep deprived, anxiety and depression can increase because the part of the brain responsible for emotional processing is negatively affected. To add insult to injury, having anxiety can make it harder to sleep!

Ironically, the physical and emotional impacts of menopause can also contribute to anxiety during menopause. As your hormone levels begin changing during perimenopause, you may begin to have symptoms like hot flashes, sleeping issues, brain fog, physical ailments, and weight gain. The negativity of those symptoms can affect how you feel about yourself and life in general, causing you to feel anxious and stressed. That anxiety can then worsen menopause symptoms like hot flashes and insomnia, pushing you into a vicious cycle of misery.

Whether or not you have ever experienced symptoms of anxiety or depression in the past, you may find they are a problem during menopause. If you have a history of anxiety and depression, you may be more susceptible to them during menopause. In addition, if you have situations in your life which can lead to anxiety and depression, you could be more likely to develop an anxiety disorder during menopause.

If you find you have symptoms of anxiety or depression during menopause, sit down and talk to your doctor. Using some hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may help you transition through menopause without the heightened levels of anxiety and stress. There are other treatment options and lifestyle changes which could help you manage anxiety during menopause.


This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

11-14-2015 - 04:15 PM


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