The transition into menopause may be a turbulent time for some women. Rapid changes in hormone levels may influence neurotransmitters in the brain. The drop in estrogen levels during perimenopause and menopause can lead to hot flashes that disturb sleep. This can lead to anxiety, fears and mood swings. Depression during perimenopause and menopause is treated in much the same way as depression that strikes at any other time.

If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, be sure to talk to your doctor about finding a treatment that will work for you. In addition, your doctor will try to exclude any medical causes for your depression, such as thyroid problems.

What are the symptoms of depression?

If you have a number of the following symptoms for most of the day, nearly every day for two or more weeks, you may be depressed. If you think that you may be depressed, be sure to see your doctor or a mental health specialist.

Symptoms of depression include:

  • Sadness
  • Loss of energy
  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
  • Loss of enjoyment from things that were once pleasurable
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Uncontrollable crying
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Irritability
  • Increased need for sleep
  • Insomnia or excessive sleep
  • A change in appetite causing weight loss or gain
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Attempting suicide

What are the symptoms of anxiety?

  • Apprehension
  • Irritability
  • Panic
  • Impatience
  • Feeling of imminent danger
  • Restlessness
  • Fear
  • Inability to relax
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Lack of enjoyment

Depression and anxiety can sometimes cause physical symptoms, such as:

  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Headache
  • Stomach ache
  • Digestive problems
  • Problems with sexual function
  • Frequent urination
  • Hyperventilation
  • Sweating, especially in the palms
  • Muscle tension

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