Depression and Mood Swings

Manage the Emotions of Midlife

Even if you have never suffered from mental health issues, all the bodily changes that occur during midlife can result in emotional highs and lows.

Unpredictable hormone fluctuations combined with stress and the side effects of menstruation may cause emotional distress. During this time, it’s common to experience sadness, anxiety, irritability, fatigue and aggression.

Your mental and emotional health are just as vital as your physical health. Mood swings and depression can significantly impact you and those around you.

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What is Depression?

Experts believe depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain. But what does that look like?

Depression is not the same as feeling a little “blue” or being unhappy after a bad day. It is a whole-body illness, with physical, emotional and mental symptoms.

Mental Health and Midlife

Women are twice as likely as men to have depression. This is due to biological factors, including:

  • Monthly changes surrounding your period
  • Hormonal changes during and following pregnancy
  • Hormonal swings before and during menopause

Unpredictable hormonal changes combined with environmental stressors can feel crushing. Balancing work with responsibilities at home, such as serving as caretaker for children and aging relatives, can all be overwhelming.

Even if you have never experienced depression or mood swings before, it is common to experience changes in your mental health during menopause.

Symptoms of Depression

The way depression manifests depends heavily on the individual, but common symptoms include:

  • Prolonged periods of sadness, anxiety, hopelessness and/or emptiness
  • Feeling worthless, helpless or guilty
  • Changes in weight and appetite
  • Changes in sleep patterns, including sleeping more than usual, waking up too early, inability to fall asleep or stay asleep
  • No longer enjoying activities you once did
  • Drop in sex drive
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Feeling “slowed down,” less energetic or fatiguedInability to concentrate, think and/or make decisions
  • Physical issues, including digestive problems, pain that doesn’t subside and/or headachesFrequent thoughts of death or suicide, wishing to die, or attempting suicide (If you have this symptoms, please seek help right away.)

How is Depression Treated?

A psychiatrist or other mental health professional will take a medical history and perform a careful psychiatric exam. Together, you and your mental health provider may decide the best course of treatment. Many people suffering from depression respond to psychotherapy, medicines, or a mixture of the two.

Our midlife care team offers support. We can connect you to Sanford mental health specialists and help you with therapeutic strategies to reduce your symptoms and bring you some relief. Learn more about depression



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