Causes and treatments for anxiety during menopause
Various factors are responsible for making several menopause symptoms worse. These include life stresses, coming to terms with your changing body, insomnia keeping you from getting some quality sleep, ageing, hormonal changes and infertility. They can spike the rate of stress, mood swings and anxiety while bringing down morale.
Perimenopause is the stage that introduces your body to a number of changes. These changes are directly responsible to the factors that, in turn, lead to anxiety and an altered mental state.
Menopause is assumed to have commenced once you have missed your periods for 12 consecutive months. The symptoms that you experience in perimenopause continue in menopause, albeit with decreased intensity or less frequency.
Research conducted on the subject suggests that 23 percent of women going through perimenopause experience episodes of anxiety. However, this type of anxiety is not always associated with depression, which is another symptom of menopause. While it is perfectly expected to feel anxious or depressed during the beginning of perimenopause if you are experiencing panic attacks or anxiety on a more or less frequent basis, these are not the usual symptoms of menopause and need to be checked out.
Anxiety and menopause
Your body is going through several changes during menopause. Changes like loss of fertility can lead to feelings of sadness and despair. There are women who might take a sigh of relief due to the fact that they no longer have to worry about becoming pregnant. In addition to all of these physical changes, there are a number of milestones women cross during their menopausal years that bring about significant lifestyle changes. This phase might include their parents or partner developing ailments due to old age, or their children might move out, causing a feeling of having an empty nest.
All of these elements can cause heightened feelings of anxiety to manifest themselves in women.
Changes in hormones, during perimenopause and menopause, are also responsible for the heightened level of anxiety. Fluctuations in levels of progesterone and oestrogen can specifically have a huge impact. These symptoms might cease once perimenopause comes to an end and women transition into the postmenopause phase that brings about a more balanced state of your hormones.
Several women going through their menopause subscribe to hormone replacement therapy to manage the various symptoms of menopause caused by an imbalance of hormones in the body. Although some women are not apt to receive hormone replacement therapy. So it is important that you consult your doctor before making the decision to receive HRT.
While going through perimenopause if a woman is experiencing high levels of anxiety, she could be prescribed certain medications to get it under control. The healthcare professional might also recommend counselling.
Women suffering from anxiety that is moderate to severe may be asked to take some of the famous antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs are more often than not quite effective in getting rid of the symptoms of anxiety. However, these medications have side effects that adversely affect their sex lives. It can lead to a fall in your libido, or it could hamper you from getting orgasm.There are a number of antidepressants that can be prescribed for women whose sexual life suffers from taking a specific antidepressant.
These are a newer version of antidepressants which include duloxetine and bupropion. Some versions of antidepressants that are of the older variety that do not directly result in sexual dysfunction. Unfortunately, there is a possibility of them causing other side effects. Reducing the dosage might help decrease the side effects for some women, like bringing back their libido. However, if you are thinking of decreasing your dosage it is of paramount importance to talk to your doctor in advance, since putting a stop to your daily medications can have severe effects.
Changes in your lifestyle
Doctors suggest making changes in your lifestyle and adopting a healthier approach in order to manage your menopause symptoms and decrease the intensity and number of panic attacks.
It is believed that exercising gently for regular periods can help successfully manage and reduce your anxiety. Perimenopausal women are recommended to choose an activity they enjoy and to incorporate it into their daily lives. These exercises can include swimming, walking, running, or indulging in some form of yoga or pilates. Such exercises can help reduce your nervous energy, which in turn helps bring down your anxiety.
Women suffering from anxiety should also identify their triggers when it comes to their diet. Drinking huge quantities of alcohol or caffeine can make your anxiety much worse. It could also act as a trigger for nervousness. Alcohol is considered a depressant that can cause your anxiety to worsen.
Another way to deal with your anxiety is acupuncture. People have experienced a distinct drop in their anxiety levels as well as in the various other menopause symptoms. Menopausal women must also ensure they get an ample amount of sleep, which can help anxiety levels. Unfortunately, the amount of sleep you get might not always be in your control as insomnia coupled with night sweats can result in disturbed sleep patterns. Hormonal imbalance causes these symptoms of menopause.
There are several techniques that can enable you to sleep better. One of these includes maintaining a journal that you can note down all of the thoughts that induce anxiety and nervousness. Doing this clears your mind enough to get some good quality sleep without a bunch of things interfering with it.
Menopause can be a lonely and isolating experience to go through. In such cases, being around women who can empathise with your problems can immensely help. There are a number of support groups available for women to talk to. When these groups get together, it creates a safe space for women to share their problems without being judged or met with indifference. Sharing their daily plights can help deal with levels of anxiety.
If anxiety and various symptoms of menopause are a constant companion, talking to friends can also be a worthy alternative to support groups. Finding a sympathetic ear can be extremely helpful to manage nervousness and anxiety.
It is vital that women set aside some ‘me’ time. It should be time devoted to being alone and focusing on themselves. Various activities such as reading, gardening, yoga, and practicing mindfulness can help center your nervous energy and get rid of it. It also helps boost relaxation and create a safe space of well being.
How to manage a panic attack
A panic attack cannot entirely be considered a symptom of menopause. It includes various smaller physical symptoms, like weakness, nausea and shortness of breath when combined are labelled as a panic attack.A number of women go through panic attacks while dealing with menopause. People who have experienced panic attacks earlier in life are more susceptible to developing them during perimenopause as well. Panic attacks basically equal to extreme levels of anxiety or a sense of imminent catastrophe. These emotions come along with various physical symptoms such as shortness of breath, weakness, nausea, heart palpitations, dizziness, sweating and tingling sensations.
The duration of these panic attacks is usually 10-30 mins. However, there is a possibility of them coming in waves over a span of several hours. Panic attacks can be a gruelling experience to go through.
People who are going through a panic attack for the first time might assume that they’re having a nervous breakdown or a heart attack.
It can be an extremely traumatising experience for a person.
Consulting a doctor must be done immediately if a person is experiencing panic attacks. The doctor will either help control the panic attacks by prescribing medication or suggest a course of therapy that could provide some relief.
Several people have testified to the positive effects of employing mindfulness techniques to reduce the frequency of panic attacks. In the practice of mindfulness, the focus is kept on the physical symptoms as well as the thoughts that come along with a panic attack. The road is then paved towards managing them.
The various triggers for panic attacks include irregular breathing. For instance, quickening your breath by breathing too quickly, or attempting to breathe more than your body allows you to, can bring on a panic attack.
There are ways in which a person can learn to regulate and control their breathing while experiencing intense amounts of anxiety, which in turn can help keep the panic attacks under control. It is helpful to have someone next to you while going through a panic attack. The person can help soothe your nerves by reassuring you that you’re safe and help get your breathing under control.
Similar to anxiety, a number of changes in your lifestyle can help decrease the frequency and intensity of your panic attacks. These include avoiding or reducing the consumption of alcohol, learning techniques that help you relax, decreasing the amount of caffeine consumption and eating a balanced diet comprising of a variety of vegetables and fruits. Getting an ample amount of fresh air can help elevate your mood and reduce anxiety and panic attacks.
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