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Perimenopausal depression: Why there is an urgent need to address this in women

Studies suggest that this is a phase when a woman can go through depression owing to the hormonal imbalances and it can make the existing symptoms of depression worse.

Perimenopause is a tough phase of a woman s life. While most of us keep talking about the challenges physiological and psychological a woman has to face during menopause little is spoken about the perimenopause phase. This phase is the transitional phase for a woman, the phase between pre-menopause and menopause. This particular phase is denoted with a variety of problem that becomes difficult to deal with abnormal menstrual periods, hormonal fluctuations, insomnia, hot flashes, lack of sexual desire etc. Studies suggest that this is a phase when a woman can go through depression too owing to the hormonal imbalances. This kind of depression is termed as perimenopausal depression and it can make the existing symptoms of depression go worse.

In fact, a study published in Archives of General Psychiatry noted that perimenopausal women were twice as likely to be diagnosed with the major depressive disorder (MDD) as those who hadn t yet entered this hormonal transition. They are also four times as likely to develop depressive symptoms as women who hadn t gone through perimenopause. In fact, in this phase women who had the highest frequency of hot flashes reported having the most significant symptoms of depression.

Women who were at the high risk of developing depression were

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  • Women without children
  • Women who took antidepressant

Here are some signs and symptoms of perimenopausal depression

There isn t much of a difference between depression symptoms and that of perimenopausal depression, however, women who face perimenopausal depression experience a severity of these following symptoms

  • lack of energy and fatigue
  • slow cognitive function
  • inattentiveness and inability to concentrate
  • general lack of interest
  • feel of worthless, hopeless or helpless
  • extreme mood swings
  • irritability
  • crying for no reason or tearfulness
  • heightened anxiety
  • profound despair
  • insomnia along with hot flashes or night sweats

Why does it happen?

Perimenopausal depression is a trigger of hormonal fluctuations. When estrogen levels fluctuate, the mood-boosting hormones serotonin and norepinephrine levels in the brain are affected. Serotonin, norepinephrine along with dopamine helps to keep your mood upbeat and make you feel happy. They also help to lower anxiety levels. But when estrogen levels fluctuate these neurotransmitters don t work effectively this result in mood swings and depression. It is better to speak to an expert and seek help if the symptoms are getting the better of you. Many women are capable of overcoming these symptoms on their own but if you need help don t hesitate to look around.

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