There is a lot of information out there about menopause and anxiety. Are women feeling anxious about menopause? Or, does menopause cause anxiety? Is it a by-product of unpredictable hormones? How can a woman control her anxiety?
Psychiatrist and UCLA anxiety expert Jason Eric Schiffman, a graduate of the MD/MBA program at the University of Southern California, is affiliated with the UCLA Anxiety Disorders Program where he has helped to develop the web-based, self-directed Cognitive Behavioral Therapy program for Anxiety Disorders found on Anxiety.org.
According to Dr. Schiffman, there is absolutely a connection between hormonal changes and psychiatric symptoms in general. With respect to anxiety, women in the perimenopausal period are more likely to experience panic attacks and other anxiety symptoms than other women of the same age who are either pre- or postmenopausal. The postpartum period is another time when women appear to be more vulnerable to psychiatric symptoms, particularly depression, which is often associated with anxiety.
He adds that once menopause passes, many women find that their level of anxiety decreases. However, let’s not blame it all on hormones. Anxiety can be caused by other factors such as negative life events or long periods of severe stress. It is important that menopausal women identify the symptoms of anxiety they’re experiencing so they find the best ways to alleviate them. Anxiety can manifest itself in many forms: sleeplessness or frequent waking during the night, nervous energy, difficulty concentrating, irritability, even depression.
Practical things you can do to help reduce your anxiety include reducing or eliminating caffeine, exercising on a regular basis, eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep and setting aside time twice a day to do relaxation exercises. If these things don’t give you relief, talk to your doctor. As we go through changes in life, our bodies will undoubtedly do the same. Be informed and take care of yourself so the changes don’t hamper your ability to maintain a happy state of mind.