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Why do Anxiety attacks appear, and how do sadness, anxiety, and stress alter mood in menopause?

Symptoms of anxiety that may appear are a feeling of instability or lightheadedness, fear of losing consciousness, tingling and numbness. 

Other symptoms that may appear are a feeling of instability or lightheadedness, fear of losing consciousness, tingling and numbness.

Steps to take in a crisis

The expert points out that anyone can suffer an isolated anxiety crisis. However, if the crises are repeated, and the fear develops that they will reappear, we are facing an anxiety disorder that can lead to the appearance of depression and the consumption of alcohol and other substances. “Panic crisis disorder is more common in women than men, and the age at which it appears is usually young, more or less between 18 and 35 years old.

Regarding the steps that a person who already knows they are going through an anxiety crisis has to take, the specialist recommends trying these strategies: perform relaxation techniques, try not to focus on the problem and seek help, either by communicating with other people or simply counting on your company. All of this, supported by medication that helps reduce anxiety, contributes to milder attacks.

“We are facing a disease. It is a subjective and emotional problem, and fear and anxiety often lead to closing the circle around the disease. What you have to look for is to face it, not limit yourself and lead a normal life”, insists the specialist, who points out that many people who are at home are afraid of not going out alone, who are afraid to get away from the places where they feel safe, they live inside a kind of glass prison that they have set up by themselves. In those cases, they must seek medical help in psychology and psychiatry to overcome this situation.

Finally, it is recommended not to consume alcohol or stimulants, to lead an organised life, get enough sleep and avoid excessive chronic stress.

Sadness, anxiety, stress: this is how mood is altered in menopause

Menopause is a stage in a woman’s life in which many hormonal changes occur, and that causes an unstable mood similar to that experienced during adolescence. For this reason, many women may experience depressive symptoms and mood swings, without this implying becoming depressed.

These alterations normally occur in those people with a special susceptibility to hormonal changes or if, for example, they have previously suffered from monthly tension syndrome (changes in physical and psychological that occur before menstruation).

What’s wrong with hormones?

Sadness, depression, irritability or even stress, anxiety or sudden nervousness are mood changes that occur due to the relationship between female hormones ( estrogens ) with the synthesis of serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine, which are the neurotransmitters involved in the management of emotions and that are related to numerous psychological and psychiatric disorders.

The specialist explains that, although not all women experience the same, 70 per cent are affected to some extent by the side effects of menopause. The duration of the symptoms is also variable, although the expert points out that they usually last from six months to two years and are different depending on the stages:

Perimenopause is the period before the withdrawal of menstruation in which estrogen production begins to decrease. The most common sporadic symptoms are hot flashes or dry skin or vagina.

Menopause: Once established, the risk of developing cardiovascular problems ( hypercholesterolemia, hypertension), endocrine problems (increased possibility of weight gain ) and alterations in the musculoskeletal system may increase, with a clear increase in the risk of osteoporosis.

how to deal with it

The usual gynaecologist is in charge of guiding the woman during this important stage. According to Verdú, the woman should consult her doubts and express her fears from the first symptoms. “Through follow-up with her gynaecologist, all these alterations can be assimilated and mitigated so that it is lived as a normal physiological process, and to be able to detect and treat early if there is any abnormal alteration.

The specialist gives some advice so as not to fall into discouragement and overcome it properly:

  • Consider menopause as another stage of life, controllable and natural.
  • Following certain recommendations such as leading a healthy lifestyle: a varied diet rich in fruits, vegetables and legumes, combined with moderate but daily exercise, will help control most symptoms. 
  • Strengthening social relationships and increasing communication with the environment as a family and partner are behaviours that help strengthen women’s self-esteem and security to overcome symptoms and fully live this stage.

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