Menopause is a phase in a woman’s life that is characterized by physiological and emotional upheaval. As this stage signifies the end of a woman’s reproductive ability, it has lasting effects on a woman’s psyche. Menopause is a gradual process, which goes on for several years. The first signs of menopause begin to develop in later thirties or early forties (also called perimenopausal age). On an average, a woman attains menopause by the age of 51. A few years before menopause and a couple of years after that are especially demanding for a woman. Amongst the various symptoms of menopause, anxiety and depression can be difficult to deal with.
Anxiety and Menopause
As mentioned above, menopause symbolizes the end of fertility for a woman. Although, a woman has had children in her life and has no intentions of procreation on her mind, this fact can still be very difficult for her to accept. Women perceive this as a loss of their femininity, womanhood. She may think that she is now undesirable to her spouse. A woman feels anxious all the time regarding acceptance by her spouse. If she does not get spousal support at this stage, it may send her into depression. Another factor that leads to anxiety and depression is response of children. Children at this stage are capable of taking control of their lives. Thus, they become less and less dependent on their mothers. This again may cause a feeling of worthlessness in women. Although, hormonal fluctuation is often cited as a reason for menopausal symptoms like this one, one should understand that hormonal imbalance is only a trigger. The origin of anxiety lies deeper into the psyche of a woman. An event of physiological distress may ignite a fear of same event happening again and thus makes the woman anxious.
Anxiety is often characterized by the fear of unknown; a fear that something bad is going to happen to yourself or your loved ones. Panic attack is the most common anxiety symptom in women during menopausal period. The woman may experience shortness of breath, sweating, hot flashes, heaviness in chest etc. amongst other symptoms. If the woman has several responsibilities she may get stressed out, eventually leading to adrenal fatigue. Fear of death may also cause trembling along with bouts of depression.
As anxiety is a psychosomatic problem, it can be treated only by improving the psyche of the woman. In that regard, anxiety is easier to treat as it is only a mental ailment. A few psychotherapy sessions may help a woman to come to terms with this stage in a better way. Along with the woman, her family, especially her spouse can also be imparted some counseling, so that they help her cope with menopausal anxiety. Similarly, the woman herself can make efforts to improve her condition. She must devote some time during the day to do some activity of her choice. It has been found that women who have high self esteem and self-confidence hardly face any difficulty in coping with this situation. Hence, women must take special efforts to work on their self worth.
Apart from this, certain changes at dietary level also bring about positive changes in a woman’s life. Eating complex carbohydrates also has a calming effect on the woman’s mind as it increases the levels of serotonin in the brain. Similarly, avoiding refined junk food and incorporating more healthy food in diet can also help relieve anxiety.
Thus, anxiety during menopause can be controlled with the help of treatment. This is indeed a difficult phase of your life, but a positive attitude can make it a lot easier to deal with.