She once talked about her life; she once spoke of wanting to be a doctor or a lawyer; she once dreamed of helping people moving past their circumstances and into their greatness but she now she sits for hours on end watching television or sleeping. This once full of life woman, now complains about the pains and aches or watches other live the life she once dreamed of. Sounds familiar? You might know a woman in your life, whose life has changed dramatically after she started and ended menopause. Unfortunately, the woman in your life may be experiencing what many women experience, postmenopausal depression. You may have noticed that your loved one is experiencing symptoms of menopause like sleeplessness, irritability, anxiety and difficulty concentrating which often are very similar to depression (Jones, 2010).
Tips and Advice
While depression is a serious condition, it is treatable and here are some tips and advice on just how to defeat depression in postmenopausal women:
It is important that you understand about depression and about the symptoms of menopause and postmenopausal depression. Post menopause starts once a woman officially has not had a period for at least a year and many women in this state experience serious illnesses such as osteoporosis and heart disease (WebMD, 2009). TIP: Research will help you increase your understanding of post menopause conditions.
Take her to the doctor to get a physical exam to determine if she really is depressed and to start a treatment regimen. When visiting the doctor discuss the pros and cons of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to raise estrogen levels. Dr. Kathleen Brady, M. D., director of the Clinical Neuroscience Division at the Medical University of South Carolina, explains that estrogen supports neurotransmission and increases blood flow in the brain, which improves cognition and elevates mood (Nefer, 2010). TIP: It is always better for you to take a list of questions and to gain as much knowledge as possible.
Establish a strong support system for her. Consult with other family members and friends about ways to be consistent with her treatment, if needed, and how to keep her motivated and going. You should also consider looking into support groups for other postmenopausal women who struggled with depression. TIP: The key to supporting your loved one is to be sure you are consistent with helping her.
Additional Tips and Advice
During her treatment plan, be sure to learn it and help her stick to it. Many postmenopausal women may reject their treatment plans and attempt to do things they once did before they began menopause. Unfortunately, this cannot be done especially if she is prescribed certain medicines or treatment plans. TIP: Pay special attention to prescribed medicines or treatments and make special note to be consistent with reminders.
If your loved one is experiencing any issues or symptoms that seem to be worsening while she is depressed, then you need to believe her. Take all references to suicide seriously, never accuse her of “faking” her symptoms and don’t minimize what she is going through (Jones, 2010). TIP: Even if you have heard it all before, always take her threats of suicide or hurting someone else serious. Seek immediate medical attention.
Menopause is an inevitable condition that all women must face as they get older. Some women breeze through menopause with no issues while others experience various symptoms, such has hot flashes, mood swings and other conditions. Some women don’t experience the worse of the symptoms, such as depression until they are postmenopausal. Fortunately, there are ways for you to help your loved one through this tough time. You have to remember that being supportive, understanding and consistent will help depression in postmenopausal women.
Jones, C. (2010). How to deal with depression in postmenopausal females. eHow.com. Retrieved from https://www.ehow.com/how_5037538_deal-depression-postmenopausal-females.html#ixzz1NVpuwILM.
Nefer, C. (2010). How to Deal with Depression in Post Menopausal Females. Livestrong.com. Retrieved from https://www.livestrong.com/article/97436-deal-depression-post-menopausal-females/#ixzz1NW3W3BvO.
WebMD.com. (2009). Your health in menopause. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/menopause/guide/health-after-menopause.\
Photo Credit: Free Digital Image. (2011). Photographer: Ambro.