Mental Health

8 Menopause Depression Treatments That Actually Work


Menopause and midlife challenge both your physical and mental health, including increasing your risk of depression. Let’s delve into eight menopause depression treatments that can help you move your mental health in a positive direction.

Understanding Depression

Depression is characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, loss of interest, low energy, changes in appetite, sleep disturbances, and difficulty concentrating. 

Feeling depressed and low is different from clinical depression. It tends to be more transient and related to specific events. These feelings are common and normal, and you should allow yourself the space to experience them. It’s also important to have tools that allow you to cope with these feelings and return to a more positive mindset. 

Clinical depression is diagnosed when someone experiences symptoms of depression and loss of interest in their normal activities most of the time on most days for at least two weeks. 

Causes of Depression During Menopause

A few factors combine around midlife and menopause to make women more susceptible to depression.

Hormonal Changes

Fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone levels during menopause impact neurotransmitters in the brain that regulate mood, contributing to the development of depression.

Psychological Factors

Menopause can be a time of significant life changes, including empty nest syndrome, career transitions, or reevaluating personal goals. These changes can trigger feelings of loss, uncertainty, and contribute to depressive symptoms.

Physical Symptoms

The physical symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, night sweats, and sleep disturbances, can disrupt your daily routines and lead to frustration, fatigue, and depressive symptoms.

Personal and Family History

A history of depression or other mood disorders, as well as a family history of depression, can increase the likelihood that you will experience depression during menopause.

8 Menopause Depression Treatments That Actually Work

1. Exercise

Studies have shown that exercise is at least as effective as medication in decreasing symptoms of depression and anxiety. The best results come from exercise that is moderate or high intensity. Find a movement routine that you enjoy and can practice regularly to get the most long-term benefit. 

2. Prioritize Sleep

Establish a consistent sleep routine and create a comfortable sleep environment to improve sleep quality. Consider relaxation techniques or natural sleep aids if sleep disturbances are contributing to depressive symptoms.

3. Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques

Practice mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, or relaxation techniques to reduce stress and promote a positive mindset.

4. A Supportive Social Network

Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends, family, or support groups who understand and empathize with your menopause journey. Sharing experiences and emotions with others can provide comfort and alleviate feelings of isolation.

5. Healthy Nutrition

Adopt a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Proper nutrition can positively impact mood and overall well-being.

6. Talk Therapy

Seek support from a licensed therapist or counselor experienced in treating menopause-related depression. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and other talk therapy approaches can help you develop coping strategies, challenge negative thought patterns, and improve overall mental health.

7. Hormone Therapy

For some women, menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) may help alleviate depressive symptoms associated with menopause. Discuss the benefits and risks of MHT with your healthcare provider to determine if it’s appropriate for you.

8. Antidepressant Medication

If depression is getting in the way of your daily life and relationships, antidepressant medication may be an appropriate option. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are commonly prescribed for menopause-related depression.

If you have persistent symptoms of depression that significantly impact your daily life or become overwhelming, it’s important to seek professional help. A healthcare provider can provide a comprehensive evaluation and recommend appropriate treatment options tailored to your specific needs. 

If you are in crisis: The National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline provides 24/7 confidential support to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Call or text 988 anywhere in the United States to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

Menopause-related depression is a complex condition, but with the right understanding and treatment approach, it is possible to find relief and regain emotional well-being. By incorporating some of these menopause depression treatments into your self-care habits, you can take proactive steps toward managing your symptoms and enjoying a fulfilling life during this transformative phase. Take charge of your mental health and embrace the journey of menopause with confidence and resilience.

For more support managing your mood in menopause, download the Midday menopause app.

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