womenTALK: Blog

Tuesday, Aug 09th 2011

Menopause and Anxiety: What's The Connection?

authored by Sheryl Kraft

After writing about menopause and hot flashes and stress/anxiety being a possible culprit, I started wondering about the link between menopause and anxiety. How are the two linked? Are women feeling anxious about menopause? Or, is it the other way around: does menopause cause anxiety? Is it a by-product of shifting, dipping, all-over-the-chart hormones?

And how can we control our anxiety? As someone who has had her fair share of anxiety over the years (especially around menopause), I decided to ask an expert some key questions about it all. Is it a disorder, I wondered, or a normal life passage?

For some answers, I turned to psychiatrist and UCLA anxiety expert Jason Eric Schiffman, a graduate of the MD/MBA program at the University of Southern California. Dr. Schiffman 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.

Q. I'm well aware that anxiety can occur at any time during a woman's life, but it does seem that panic attacks become more prevalent during times of hormonal upheavals: during adolescence, pregnancy and perimenopause and then menopause. In my experience, I've seen teens and women who never before suffered anxiety be suddenly hit with an increased incidence. Is it merely coincidence or is it indeed hormonally related?

A. Yes, there is absolutely a connection between hormonal changes and psychiatric symptoms in general, and women undergoing specific hormonal changes have increased risk for particular psychiatric disorders. 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.
 
Q. If increased anxiety is hormonally related, does that mean it will pass once a woman gets through menopause? Does the anxiety need to be treated?

A. Once menopause passes, many women find that their level of anxiety decreases. However, in addition to hormonal changes, there are often many other factors that contribute to the development of anxiety during menopause. For example, women who suffer more physical symptoms, experience negative life events or who are less functional are more likely to develop an anxiety disorder during menopause than women without these additional stressors. So, it is important not to ignore other possible causes of anxiety—just because a woman may be experiencing menopause. Treatment of anxiety is always warranted if there is significant distress or functional impairment.
 
Q. Once a woman experiences an anxiety attack does this mean she will be more likely to experience them more often?
 
A. Someone who has experienced panic attacks in the past is more likely to experience them in the future than someone who has never had one. That being said, panic attacks respond very well to a type of treatment called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT); someone who gets into treatment may have very few or no panic attacks in the future.
 
Q. Oftentimes women may be able to feel an anxiety attack coming on. Do you have any advice as to how to recognize the start of one and how to stop it in its tracks before it progresses further?
 
A. There are very effective techniques for treating panic attacks but they need to be tailored to each individual. There are now self-help versions of CBT available online which walk someone through the creation of a personalized treatment plan. One that I have worked with that is based upon the approach we use in the UCLA Anxiety Disorders Clinic can be found at www.Anxiety.org.

Q. Anxiety can manifest itself in many forms: sleeplessness or frequent waking during the night, nervous energy, difficulty concentrating, irritability, even depression. What do you suggest for a woman who is feeling any one or a combination of these things? Are there different therapies for different types of anxiety and, if so, what are they (from a behavioral, medical and/or psychopharmacological and/or nutritional viewpoint)?

A. It is important that menopausal women identify the symptoms of anxiety they're experiencing so they find the best ways to allay them. As I mentioned, CBT is one of the most effective treatments for anxiety. There are also medications that can be prescribed by a psychiatrist. These are often used in conjunction with CBT. 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.
 
More reading:
8 Ways to Deal With Hot Flashes in the Heat (Or Is-It-Hot-In-Here-or-Is-It-Just-Summer?)
Natural Approaches for Easing Anxiety
An Overview of Menopause

Subscribe to Midlife Matters by Email

Comments

Jan 26, 2016 22:Jan 10 | Brenda said

So relieved I am not alone. I

So relieved I am not alone. I have been dealing with this for so long. I am getting to the end of my rope. 2014 my period stopped for 5 months and I gained weight, started again and lost the weight. 5 months later stopped again and immediately gained weight around my tummy only. Panic attacks are frequent and severe. So tired of being called crazy, as I know, this is not my fault. I am 46, lost my husband unexpectedly 10 years ago and that is when perimenopause started.

This is the worst I have ever felt. I am so full of anxiety, depression, panic attacks, suicidal, and literally hating life and everyone in it.

Financial crisis has kept me from getting medical treatment. State funded care is such a joke, they treat you like you are a POS and could careless if you are in crisis!

Praying God will take me soon, hating life so bad. Why is there not more help for menopausal women. These are real issues, not in my head!

Jan 29, 2016 13:Jan 1 | said

Anxiety

It is so nice to see others too are experiencing the same types of perimenopausal symptoms and knowing you are not alone. I have had many sleepless night along with the racing heart tight chest and feeling as though you will simply pass out. It's hard to face work fearing this anxiety will return and you can't run away. Has anyone found relief for this and do most women experience this. Great to hear we are not totally alone!

Jan 21, 2016 15:Jan 3 | Elizabeth said

Menopause

Hello ladies! My "stats":)--I'm 48 and have had a partial hysterectomy. Last night, again could not fall asleep due to the "crazy" (rising temp, "sinking" feeling, dizziness, chest heaviness, sweaty/then clammy, weak when I get up), I googled "going crazy, menopause?" and stumbled upon this site. Am SOOOO tkful to all of you/your posts!!!! The crazy started in Oct.- woke a couple of nights to above-mentioned symptoms. I was scared/thinking "is this a heart thing?" and made note of nearest urgent care/hospital (we're new to this city) Later same week I was at a store and overcome (no warning) with above symptoms and seriously thought I was "going down." Went to urgent care/they cked me out and heart fine- UC dr said prob anxiety, follow up with PC. What?!? There have been WAY more stressful times in my life, didn't make sense. Went to Dr./ came away with Xanax/heart monitor to wear for 2 wks. Of course no more episodes then... so she said heart is fine. About a month later (hmmm) at a wedding and was overcome again sitting in a pew in a packed church. Darned if I was "going down" and taking the spotlight off my dear friend, who at 48, was marrying the man of her dreams. I breathed in/out carefully and stared at the "non moving" pew in front of me and made it through, though sweaty/looking way good;) Reception, happened again. Thought it was a good time to try a half (then the other half, total .5) Xanax. It helped. Then "it" came on at an airport following wedding, and throughout these days, there was cont. chest heaviness/hard to explain "odd feeling" ugh:/ A month later is now...since last fri. constant chest heaviness, add migrainish headache (new), "out of body" or just weird feeling, and as SOON as I lay down in bed those "crazy night" symptoms return. Saw dr yesterday, did blood work, gave me estrogen gel (apply daily to arm), lab results today confirm I'm in menopause. ALLLLLLL of that (so SRY) to say, what now? I'm hopeful this gel helps, but from what I've been reading, usually not so simple:/. I've taken 1/2 tab of Xanax middle of each nt to help me rest... But daytime is no picnic either. Don't want to keep popping Xanax. Anyone else seem to get those crazy symptoms almost AS soon as your head hits the pillow? Is it positional as well?? I get all this wackiness is due to hormonal readjustment, but how to handle? Husband trying to understand, but it's difficult... And I'm tired trying to explain. Truly, Tk you again for each of you taking the time to post...I don't feel totally alone!!

Jan 14, 2016 18:Jan 6 | femi said

true story

My name is Gloria elliot. To cut a long story short I tried about 3 different herbal doctors over a period of 3 months and all they wanted was more & more money and kept coming up with excuses as to why my herpes virus wasn’t cured. Just when I was about to give up I came across several good testimonies of Dr.AKAKA over the internet. I contacted him and he promised to restore my faith back into Herbal Doctors, that they are real and herbal medications do actually work to cure herpes virus. I was very skeptical after several scam. Mine wasn’t a simple virus because my little daughter was infected also but Dr.AKAKA put his best in it and gave me good and effective result just as he has promised. Always called & text on time. Replied to emails on time. I recommend Dr.AKAKA extremely highly. Dr AKAKA you are a gifted man and I will not stop recommending you because he is a wonderful man. If you have a problem and you are looking for a real and genuine Herbal Doctor, try him anytime, he is the answer to your problems. You can contact him Akakasolutionhome@gmail.com

Jan 08, 2016 12:Jan 12 | Guy Husband said

trying to help

My wife is a little older than I am and her personality has always been rock solid and unemotional. She started displaying very anxious behavior when she was 51 and it quickly became intense and emotionally abusive to me. I was clueless and desperate to find a way to help her. Finally I stumbled upon the subject of menopause and her symptoms fit a number of behavior descriptions; especially Louann Brizendine, MD's discussion in the book "The Female Brain".

Unfortunately, my wife could not be convinced of her significant and belligerent behavior changes, even in therapy. Her behavior is abusive to both me and our son. She is now 58 and the symptoms may be slowing a little.

Please take menopause seriously and seek assistance! Your emotional, family and financial health may be at serious risk!

Jan 14, 2016 16:Jan 4 | said

Menopause is Not an Illness

Your wife may be experiencing undesirable behavioral changes, but please, don't portray menopause as though it were an abnormality that needs to be "cured." This kind of thinking has lead to pregnancy and childbirth being treated as an illness and abnormality that needs to be "fixed" because it's not convenient to our male dominated society. I submit that male midlife crises (which seem to result in buying sports cars, motorcycles or having affairs with younger women) are much more threatening to the health, emotional well-being and finances of any family that the hot-flashes and mood swings of menopause.

Jan 07, 2016 16:Jan 4 | Joanne said

The beginning of the end

Hey Ladies! Since we ALL share the same fun symptoms, is there anyone out there that is completely "leveled/balanced" and out of harsh menopausal symptoms? Would LOVE to know.
Joanne

Dec 30, 2015 23:Dec 11 | Suzy said

I am so thankful I stumbled

I am so thankful I stumbled across this site tonight. It helps knowing I am not alone. Here is my story - I am 51, and have had thyroid problems since I was 42. My thyroid was radioactively blasted, so I take synthroid. The problem is my body keeps changing with the medicine, and every time my dose changes, I end up in the emergency room thinking I am having a heart attack. 2 years ago at 49 I had a complete hysterectomy (incl. ovaries removed) due to huge fibroids that were growing and starting to push on internal organs. I never took any medication except for the thyroid. I have suffered through 2 years of not sleeping, and hot flashes every 5 minutes due to the surgical menopause that is battling with being cold every 5 minutes because of my thyroid issues. I recall specific instances of extreme emotion in the last two years, but never put it together with menopause. For the first 49 years of my life I was calm, cool, and collected, no emotional issues whatsoever. Then in August I had an intense panic attack and awful anxiety, so much so that I immediately went to a Psychologist. She helped me with CBT therapy, but also told me she suspected I needed hormones! I researched options, and decided to try Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement pellets. It takes a while to get the right dosage, but after the first day, my hot flashes were gone, and I have slept soundly ever since. The doctor doesn't d a full panel of blood tests, and is also now treating my thyroid. She dropped the synthroid dosage and put me on cytomel for T3. My throid symptoms seem to be good now. I am still waiting for the emotional well being part to kick in. My anxiety that started in August has continued, although it has gotten better. I asked my doctor for Paxil, and she gave me a low dose, 10mg, but I cut them down to 5mg, and it has helped. I am a work in progress, but knowing that I am not losing my marbles, and that there is a reason I am feeling like this helps a lot. It also helps hearing all your stories and solutions. I have had zero energy, and have gained 40 pounds since my hysterectomy, but I am cautiously optimistic that I can find the oomph I need to start exercising and eating right soon! Thanks for listening, and Happy New Year!

Dec 28, 2015 12:Dec 12 | Vanessa said

It's nice to know that I'm

It's nice to know that I'm not alone. Early menopause runs on my mom's side of the family with my mother, aunt, and grandmother all starting theirs between 38 and 40. I've started mine at 39 and it is intense. Part of it is my own fault, about 5 months ago I went off my hormone therapy just to see what would happen and three months later, I felt raving bonkers as well as having physical symptoms such as chronic diarrhea, itchiness, and rashes.
My anxiety manifests itself specifically with fear and panic attacks of things that I can't see. My family and I moved into a new apartment two months ago right at the height of the hormone free-fall and for weeks I was sure that we had black mold, water problems, and the worst, an irrational fear of bed bugs. I was positive that we had all these things. We live in a lovely apartment that is professionally cleaned every other week, but I was uncomfortable being home, which is a horrible feeling. I have a great husband and an adorable four year old, yet I was purposely working 55 hours a week so I didn't have to go home for fear of compulsively checking ceilings for leaks and beds for bugs. Again, keep in mind that we actually had none of these things. I had a roofer come out and check for water issues and a pest control company check for bed bugs. Nothing. You would think this would make me feel better, but it didn't.
However, I am 4.5 weeks back on my hormone therapy which leaves me about 2 weeks away from a normal baseline. Things are slowly getting better and I am lucky to be supported by a therapist and psychiatrist who specialize in hormone issues. I have a low dose of Xanax that I keep around for the really dark times and I've started swimming and socializing a bit again. It's not great, but it was better than it was a month ago.
Thank you all for sharing and I wish you peace and calm.

Dec 12, 2015 18:Dec 6 | dmoore4 said

anxiety and menopause

I have loved reading all the comments. I know now that I am not going crazy. I am 54 and have had menopause for about 5 years now. It started with the hot flashes, then the anxiety kicked it. I feel that anything that hurts is something life threatening and I almost obsess over things. I have experienced 2 episodes of vertigo which sent me way over the edge, not ever having experienced that before. Now I feel like I just want to jump out of my skin. I sometimes feel like my head is swimming, not really dizzy, just out of sorts. I also experience mild stomach pain or slight nausea. I have also experienced several panic attacks, but I can feel them coming on. I just get ready for it and ride it out, knowing full well what it is. I also have a feeling of impending doom and think about my own death a lot. I live alone and am petrified I will die with no one finding me. Wow, how weird is that!! I am going through this with no medication whatsoever. I am just tired of always feeling anxious (nervous stomach type anxious) I refuse to do the HRT. Just too dangerous. I don't trust doctors. Can anyone give me some good advise on vitamins and an holistic approach to help with these symptoms? Thanks!!

Jan 23, 2016 01:Jan 1 | Meryl said

anxiety, vertigo

dmoore,

I also have anxiety attacks and I ride them out too, because I don't want to do HRT. It is really a terrible feeling and anyone who hasn't experienced an anxiety attack, wouldn't understand just how horrific it can be.

I have vertigo as well. The vertigo rarely happens now, but the anxiety continues, sometimes I have one attack after another, on and off for most of the day. It is just a feeling that is impossible to explain, except to say that it is just sort of terrifying.

I found that taking black cohosh 540mg (an herb that you can buy on Amazon) helps with the anxiety and even helps with hot flashes. Taking black cohosh doesn't mean you will never have an anxiety attack, it just seems to minimize them. I only take it when I feel that one may be coming on. I have learned to recognize the sensations and the thoughts that tell me there is one beginning to build and the black cohosh is often able to head it off, so that it doesn't become a full blown attack.

When I have vertigo, I found it is best to kneel and tilt my head down toward the floor--or whatever position will enable me to get blood to my head. I just stay that way until it passes. This seems to make it pass more quickly and makes it a little less intense. But it is important to get back up (when your body is ready) SLOWLY because you can get dizzy from lifting your head too fast.

Just a side note: It is also a good idea to find out if your ears are causing the vertigo, in case it is a problem that is unrelated to hormones (such as an ear problem). Ear issues can really throw you off balance.

I hope you are able to get some benefit from these suggestions.

With Empathy,
Lynn

Dec 31, 2015 18:Dec 6 | Maria Helen Idaho USA said

I'm so relieved, too, after

I'm so relieved, too, after reading the last several comments. I'm 54 and haven't had a period in 14 months. I've had major anxiety, which really kicked in a couple months ago. I totally get what you're saying, about having a feeling of dread from the moment I wake up till bedtime. I feel like if I stop appreciating what I have, it will be taken away. I'm so afraid to take anything for granted, because I feel something bad will happen if I do. I do have 'normal' moments interspersed throughout the day, but mostly I imagine the worst possible scenario for every circumstance, and feel like I can no longer live because the anxiety is making me feel like I've lost it in the worst way. This is the most unbearable experience I've had. One has no idea what menopause is really like till they experience it. I hate feeling scared every second of my life, and want this to end, sooner than later. Even watching the news triggers hot flashes, because that has turned into a high-stress situation. This feels so stupid, like there's really nothing to be scared of, but my emotions don't seem to get that. Writing this has even brought on a major hot flash! My prayers go out to all of you, my fellow sufferers. I've heard this will end; that is my only hope. Hang in there, everyone. This will pass.

Jan 07, 2016 07:Jan 7 | Darlene said

I totally relate. I have

I totally relate.
I have severe complex ptsd ad have always had depression anxiety issues.
I have had endometriosis since I was 15 I am now 51. I have had about 11 surgeries and over the years had my hormones manipulated with various drugs that simulated menopause and when discontinued periods would return.
I had a hysterectomy at almost 40 but kept one ovary.
You could say the shutting down of this ovary is my third menopause only this one is permanent. I am not taking any hrt.
I have chronic pain from the endo and its damage and from being hit by a car.
I find the anxiety is unreal right before a hot flash. I want to run somewhere because the panic makes me want to escape my own body.
Just thinking about it causes intense panic right now I'm shaking so brutally.
I'm on med marijuana in herb and pill form and other meds for pain. Low doses are not causing it.
Now I feel constantly like I'm not breathing properly. I feel like I should go back on Ativan but I know it is one of the worst things you can do.
Tranquilizer especially benzodiazepines are horrible for you and cause severe rebound anxiety. They cause permanent brain damage and can easily be overdosed and cause death.
So what do you do? What's left.? I don't sleep now at all.
I wonder if I am going to have a heart attack soon because if I do sleep I wake up and my heart immediately races, I mean it gallops from normal to skyrocketing fast.
I feel like I do think or even obsess about my death because I am ultimately alone as I have no husband or children and live in poverty because I live on disability. I take care of my very elderly mother with no help. When she is gone I will be homeless.
I know it's anxiety but it doesn't subside. It just goes down to about a 4 and then revs to a 9 or 10 every ten mins or so. This is all day now. I don't think I can stand it.
I hope others don't feel so alone now.
Hot flashes menopause and anxiety disorders are linked that's for sure.
No matter what anyone, any doctor says, it's not in your head. And you're not alone. And people care about you.
I do.

Jan 11, 2016 15:Jan 3 | Johnetha said

Menopause and panic attack, with depression goes together.

I feel like all of you are telling my story and what I have been going thru every day. Try talking to a young Doctor and the first thing that came to her mind is anti-depression medication. Why are those pills the cure for everything in this country? I keep thinking that if I can make it to 58 or 60 maybe my trouble will be over. Well, i just know that every day is a struggle for me and all you lady's and I know how you all are feeling and reading your story made me feel real good to know I am not along and have people out there who know what I am going through. Thanks for making my day.

Dec 14, 2015 21:Dec 9 | Aggie said

ANXIETY

Thanks for that comment, this is exactly how I feel! Ive tried a few anti anxiety meds but they make me sleepy all the time. Im at a point thought that I need to go back on meds on a low dose because I feel like Im losing my mind!!

Dec 10, 2015 15:Dec 3 | anon said

Uncanny

It's uncanny how many of these comments apply to me at this time, including MVP (mitral valve prolapse). I have been wondering how many of my anxiety symptoms are related to that. The comment about left breast pain also applies to me. I am 52, no period for 6 months, and very irregular for the 6 months prior to that. I was congratulating myself on having very few hot flashes during this time, but the insomnia and anxiety/dread I've been experiencing are far worse. I immediately fall asleep but then wake up 4 hours later and am awake for hours. Husband snoring doesn't help, so I move to another room at that point. I have never had these symptoms before, I have always been strong, just a "keep plugging along" and generally unflappable kind of person. Yes I have had my share of life crises in the past decade, and currently my husband and I feel very stressed by our financial situation. He is not working, I am. Many remedies I've tried have backfired. Melatonin gave me palpitations, I was surprised to read that this happens to some people, GABA also made me feel nauseated. I had tried both of these supplements years ago without the negative effects, so it must be related to hormone imbalance. I prefer natural solutions and have changed my diet drastically to eliminate inflammation (now eating vegan). Don't drink caffeine or alcohol, don't smoke, not on any medications, not overweight, don't consume sugar. Progesterone cream helped a bit, but didn't resolve everything. Epsom salt baths help somewhat (the body absorbs relaxing magnesium this way, more so than with oral magnesium supplements). Iodine supplementation helped quite a bit, but didn't resolve everything. I have a lovely 11 year old son and I'm so regretful that he has an anxious and tired mom. Thank you all so much for sharing and I hope every one of you will find some relief soon. I will think of you all when I wake in the early hours. I try to meditate and pray at that time, and send prayers for others I know who are experiencing trying times. My next idea is to watch old comedy movies from the 30s and 40s (I find modern comedies to be anxiety-inducing....haha) If it helped Norman Cousins perhaps it will help me. Laughter is great medicine and does reduce anxiety.

Dec 14, 2015 22:Dec 10 | dmoore4 said

sleepless nights

I have found that taking 2 Benadryl about an hour before bed really helps me sleep. I play games on my computer in bed at night which also helps put me to sleep quicker. I also have the itchiness that comes along with menopause. The Benadryl helps a great deal for that and I also put baby oil on the itchy spots. Works like a charm.

Jan 11, 2016 22:Jan 10 | RENEE said

Menopause and Anxiety ,Sleep

I am on Zoloft 1x day and it really helps me sleep :) I also have a lot of Anxiety !! Take 10mg Ativan but only when i really need it :)

Dec 04, 2015 23:Dec 11 | KAKMJM said

I m a mess

You cannot imagine the relief I feel reading these comments. I am 55 years old. I had an endometrial ablation done about 10 years ago, so I have no way to determine where I am in the menopause timeline. I have been having hot flashes on and of for a few years. Those I can deal with. What I am really struggling with is the overwhelming feelings of dread and anxiety. I have had breast pain in my lft breast for the last six weeks. I had a mamogram three weeks ago and all was normal. There are no lumps, or any other issues. The pain is fleeting, but uncomfortable, a tingling burning pain. I have blown this out of all proportion to the reality. I have been doing this with everything in my life lately. The sense of dread I feel from the mment I open my eyes in the morning until I close them at night is horrible. I can deal with a little weight gain, hot flashes, headaches, and all the other crap that menopause throws at me, but I find the mental issues the worst to bear. I also suffer from MS and that is its own kind of hell, but I know the disease intimately. Anxiety and depression also follow that disease. I do all I can to make my life as simple as possible, meditation, swimming three mornings a week, sleeping in my own bed as opposed to the marital bed, eating well, learning to say no. Thank you s much for sharing your stories. It has helped me relax for the first time in months.

Dec 04, 2015 02:Dec 2 | Fairness said

I am glad to see that I'm not

I am glad to see that I'm not alone also, I told my dr, I didn't want to do,drug therapy but if my hormones are out of whack I'll try hormone therapy !
I have all the anxiety symptoms and want to stay in bed all the time.
I have had a lot of stress and loss in the past few years, so that didn't help much either. Life is changing and so am I . It's all a lot at once. Good to know I'm not alone. Thanks everyone for sharing .

Oct 29, 2015 05:Oct 5 | said

Menopause Anxiety

After going through the horrible symptoms of the perimenopause from 51, I thought nothing could get worse. How wrong I was. After stopping periods at 54 I got the full blown menopause, and have been struggling with it since. Im now 57 and the anxiety is crippling. I have always been a poor sleeper but this has made it so much worse. The doctor put me on Dosulepin 25mg to take before bed, but im now on 50mg as everything is getting on top of me. The physical symptoms, lack of energy, weight gain, brittle nails, hair thinning are bad enough, but the anxiety is the worst thing. The minute I wake up it starts, I cant have a lie in ever, as I just cant rest. I thought pmt was bad enough, but menopause is hell. I have to show my husband this site as he needs to realise im not alone, and this problem is real.

Jan 08, 2016 09:Jan 9 | Jan said

anxiety

I am 59 yrs old and over the last year also suffering from anxiety and sadness due to menopause, I think my issues kicked in on the late side as I see most women go through this in their early 50's. I am going to acupuncture and wanted to let you know to try this avenue. It has helped me and I still go until I get it under control. Hope it helps.

Oct 26, 2015 21:Oct 9 | Elizabeth's Mom said

Anxiety cure that worked for me

Last April I had my first massive panic attack at night. Within weeks I had massive terrorizing panic attacks each night where I was literally afraid to go to sleep. During the day my anxiety became worse with each passing day. My doctor prescribed Clonazepam and Melatonin (I took 1 mg of melatonin and 1/2 of the tablet of Clonazepam .5mg)to help with the night time panic which did help a little but I still woke up every night, terribly frightened, heart pounding, stomach upset and I had to jump out of bed and run to the bathroom. Within 2 weeks I went back to the doctor and told her something was wrong in my body and I wanted my blood checked for abnormalities. She tested everything. A Blood test disclosed I was Vitamin D deficient and my number was 19. I was given a prescription of 50,000 IU of Vitamin D3 once a week for 8 weeks but this did not get my numbers high enough for me to recover totally but I was on my way to reducing my anxiety and panic attacks. Now 6 months later I have had regular bloodwork tests and found I feel best when my Vitamin D number is in the 50-60s and all of my panic attacks are gone and so is my anxiety. I am not a doctor and I don't pretend to know everything about vitamins but here is what worked for me after reading how other people have found relief online and reading some vitamin books I decided to take this doseage daily: I take 10,000 IU Vitamin D3 and 1200 IU of Calcium that I buy at Walmart. I also use a liquid Magnesium and take 2 tablespoons. I order this online. I take these 3 nutrients every morning after I have had breakfast with a protein. This liquid Magnesium is easier on my stomach and easier to absorb. I use to take 3 Magnesium Citrate pills but I found it gave me loose BMs and the liquid seemed to get my numbers up faster. When I took the Vitamin D3 pills the doctor gave me for 8 weeks (50,000 IU) I also took 400 mg of Magnesium and 1200 of Calcium. I read that D2 is synthetic so you don't want that. The weekly pill made me feel better within 2 weeks but I had to keep up the pills daily after that initial 8 weeks to totally recover. You might want to go online and search Vitamin D and anxiety. There is nurse there that gave great advice about taking Magnesium with your Vitamin D because Vitamin needs Magnesium for your body to absorb the nutrients. I also got 30 minutes of sunshine every single day and started taking a chewable Multi Vitamin. That also helped me recover quickly. I wanted off the prescription narcotic meds and wanted my body to get better so I found my answer in eating better and taking vitamins. I hope your anxiety and panic attacks go away so ask your doctor to check your Vitamin D level.

Nov 28, 2015 08:Nov 8 | Adams said

Panic and anxiety

Thank you so much , to you and the others, who are discussing this in this forum, I am experiencing all of these symptoms after a hysterectomy, and the anxiety , lack of sleep, and feelings of helplessness are the worst. I feel better knowing I am not alone, and I am going to try your suggestions, my doctor had given me the option of going on medication,but I wanted to ride this out and see what my body does, you have at least given me another route to take . Thank you and good luck to you also.

Oct 26, 2015 19:Oct 7 | Rit said

Thank God!!!

I went through a premature menopause at 41. I am now 51. And the symptoms never go. I have tried absolutely everything especially being a Nurse knowing what is out there. But nothing ever ever words. My worst symptom of all still carries on 3 yrs after post menopause finally happened and periods stopped. And that is the most acute crippling anxiety especially early morning as I can now see so many other ppl have too. And gross panic attacks and hot flushes. Whereas 10 yrs ago before all this happened I used to be a confident calm person. This premature menopause has totally ruined my life. I was going through whilst also trying to raise my little girl only 8 when it started. Whereas other ppl dont' have to deal with till there children are still at home to watch them so don't also have the additional terror of having to also try and hide it for years too. As i say over the years I have joined sooooo many forums websites etc its untrue. But until this day. I have never found all you lot. Who are soooo exactly like me it's untrue. Thank you God I'm finally not alone xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Nov 09, 2015 16:Nov 4 | Mary Anne said

Menopause and anxiety

Hi there. Just read your post. I too am in menopause. I fight with the anxiety as well. What support group are you in. I would appreciate touching base with others who are struggling with menopause.

Blessings to you.

Mary Anne

Oct 15, 2015 17:Oct 5 | RENEE CLARK said

Hello !! I just turned 51 and

Hello !! I just turned 51 and started having my period again after a year of not having one.Also my face feels like it is on fire sometimes. Then i noticed i was not feeling myself. Started having lots of anxiety! Don't have any trouble sleeping i guess because i take Zoloft before bed and it helps me rest. Wake up in the morning and the anxiety is horrible.Just want to feel like myself again. Supposed to go see my OBGYN next week hope she can help me. I just want to feel better. Also been having fluttering in the middle of my chest. Don't know if it is from the anxiety or menopause in general.

Oct 12, 2015 21:Oct 9 | said

Better Hormones than Prozac

I had a complete hysterectomy in 2013 and went without HRT for maybe a year. Eventually the night sweats were too much so I went to hormone patches (cream first, but that didn't work out). I was using them wrong and sometimes not at all. My insurance stopped covering it completely so it went from $15/month to $50 - so I stretched those patches out so much they weren't very effective. I was having anxiety attacks and feeling completely overwhelmed. I have very good reason to feel overwhelmed as I am the sole cleaner of a 5000 sq. ft. home that my father had 14 cats and 3 dogs in for the last 2 years he lived there and it's 4 states away, so not an easy undertaking. Still, I was miraculously managing all that and much more without any anxiety attacks or crying spells before. When it finally hit me that it was probably the lack of hormones, I talked to my doctor and found out it was the main culprit.

Getting back on the hormone patches has changed everything. I am active and walk my dad's dog every day, but haven't been to the gym in months.
It seems to me that if you are willing to take prozac, you might want to try hormone replacement first and see if that doesn't do a much better job. Exercise and diet are huge. If you do those three things you may be able to avoid the antidepressants. So far I have, but I'm not making any promises. :) Good luck ladies.

Oct 12, 2015 02:Oct 2 | MariaM said

Hi ladies, So it's 1:45 am

Hi ladies,

So it's 1:45 am and I can't sleep! I've dealt with anxiety and panic attacks my entire adult life. I am now 50 and I think I'm experiencing some peri-menopausal symptoms. Since I'm all too clear on what a panic attack is, I'm not sure if what I'm having now are hot flashes or panic attacks.

About 8 months ago I read a wonderful book on anxiety that helped me a great deal, it's called Anxiety No More. It was written by a man that lived with severe anxiety for ten years and it is the story of how he found his way out, how he learned to cope and eventually rid himself of his anxiety. He also has a web site by the same name with a blog that is sort of a forum for anxiety sufferers to share their stories and get/give advice. I highly recommend it.

Even with all the anxiety I've lived with, I've never had trouble sleeping like this. And I came on here to find that I am not alone! Good to know.

Anyway, check out that book and I hope it helps.

Sep 22, 2015 03:Sep 3 | said

menopause, anxiety, sweats and the list goes on...

From reading all the comments from other ladies I was wondering how long menopause lasts for the majority of women?

Taking medications to cope with issues can be hard to accept. We associate pills with bad health to make us feel better.

Menopause is a part of life for all women. I am experiencing many of the symptoms others have said they have. Finding solutions to these issues isn't easy.

Doctors want to give us pills, eventually we succumb to pill popping just to try and feel some relief. That's the stage I'm at now, feeling desperate to find a pill popping solution.

Hormone therapy? Will this help? What are the long term implications for pills that we take? Something to consider. We are so desperate for a quick solution that we forget to look long term. Menopause is a long process, I just hope that the majority of women come out the other side feeling like themselves again. Menopause is like a yoyo, feelings going up and down.

Family support is hard to get since husbands and kids don't know what we feel like, even though we explain it to them the best we can.

Who is the authority on menopause? I'd like to hear from them. I've read books about menopause, ladies are supposed to be good - no caffeine, no alcohol, eat right, exercise daily, yoga and stretching exercise, blah, blah, blah - drastic change in daily life.

I'm skeptical about who to trust with my health. I want to research the information the doctor can provide before taking any pills. It seems to me that doctors like to prescribe pills for anything, it's not their body so why not. Research what meds are given to you before proceeding. If you are currently on meds make sure you check into how one med works with another, will there be issues.

I wish everyone luck as we go through this bumpy road called menopause. Going to try and go back to bed now. Just had my middle of the night walk! LOL

Oct 25, 2015 16:Oct 4 | Jo said

Dealing with post menopausal anxiety/moodiness

Hello, thank your for your post, it made me feel not so 'all alone'. All my life I have been called 'a trooper', through all the abuses I've hade in my life, no one ever would know, because of how well I 'handled it'. At 40 years old I had my one and only baby. Two years later I went into menopause, a complete halt of my period. I had HOT FLASHES FOR ONLY 3 MONTHS, and I dealt with it well. Now I am 61, and for the last 12 years my anxiety is off the hook, no matter how hard I try to deal with it. Meditation used to work, but not any longer. I've not taken HRT because of family background, but I have been on Xanax, which 1mg used to get me through an entire day. Not any longer. I am a professional woman, worked from 16 to 40, through my 9th month of pregnancy; I am also an Artist, landscapes, jewelry making, sculpting. Now, I do 'nothing'. My hands 'shake' from the anxiety. People tell me that I look no older than 48-50, but turning 61 has thrown me for a loop, I'm feeling soooo old. I need help, husband and daughter have no patience, and don't help. My therapist does't know anything, and is a 40 year old man who could be my son,and he just got his PhD and works 'out of the book'. I've been with him 3 years, he is 'nice', but doesn't help. I went somewhere else, and it seems that everyone is so much younger than me and do not understand life yet to give any good advice. I am so sad, all the time. Now I worry about my daughter graduating college and what if she leaves me? Im sorry to rant on, but it's because I am a mess. I was such a strong woman, whitewater running, weight lifting trainer, stage manager for living theaters here in NYC. What has happened to me? Is this just what 'us women have to go through?'. Will it ever stop so I can be my 'old self' again? Pun intended! Hey, if you write back to me and just tell me that 'you understand', it will make my day. And I guess I will just continue to 'deal with this' as best I can and hope it goes away sometime soon.
Peace and Love
Jo
in NYC

Dec 25, 2015 23:Dec 11 | Emilia said

I DO understand

I have been in ER many times for the last 6 months.I just want my life back. You are not alone. Hugs.

Dec 10, 2015 16:Dec 4 | callie said

Menopause anxiety

Jo,I don't know if this is too late to respond to your post,but I wanted to tell you I sure understand the menopause anxiety,mine is off the charts bad.I did want to warn you about Xanax.I took a similar benzo called Lorazapam off and on for several years,and when my dad got sick and before he died,I took it everyday for a few weeks.I tried to get off it after he died,and had the worst rebound anxiety I've ever had.Side effects that were so bad,it was unreal.I noticed before I stopped them,they weren't working as well and I would get inter dose withdrawal symptoms.I just wanted to warn you,as the anxiety I had before taking these,going through menopause and stress,was nothing like the terror like anxiety I had getting off these benzo pills.Benzo Buddies online has a huge number of people who are suffering from taking these pills.I hope you are doing better,and I hope you don't mind me telling you this,it's just so many of us are going through this awful anxiety and want to help each other if we can.Debbie

Nov 21, 2015 22:Nov 10 | VIVI said

Anxiety

Hi Jo,

I totally understand. I too am an artist, potter and sculptor, I'm 55 and the anxiety is almost more than I can bear. It helps me somehow to know this is normal but it's very scary and depressing. I've lost my appetite and have a hard time eating as a result. Tea is about the only thing that seems to bring me temporary comfort. I do understand and I'm so sorry you are going through this.

VIVI

Oct 27, 2015 14:Oct 2 | Tammy said

You are not alone

I am 53 years old and am going through much of what you are, Jo. Medication helped for a while, but I don't feel like it's doing any good lately. Some days it's all I can do to hold it together. I have lost confidence in myself and my abilities. I worry about my daughter graduating college and not being able to find a job. She will be moving home, but what will I do when she leaves? I am tearful and am afraid my husband will get so tired of me being such a downer. And if I believe in God and His plan, why do I feel this way? And I procrastinate so much now and overthink everything. I hope things get better for you soon. I do understand and wish I had some good advice for you. Praying helps to calm me.

Sep 21, 2015 12:Sep 12 | said

Glad I'm not the only

Glad I'm not the only menopause crazy out there. Although I wouldn't wish this on anybody! I have had the worst menopause of anyone I know. 52 years old. Never had PMS but did have a little postpartum after my babies. Two years ago after getting my hormone levels checked and they were rock bottom went on HRT which helped tremendously but I recently reached a new high of anxiety after getting dental treatment for my daughter that didn't turn out as I expected. (She is okay with it and it can probably be corrected.) Led to a nervous breakdown (shouldn't have but everything suddenly felt overwhelming) that I'm treating with therapy. Probably need an antidepressant but waiting to see GYN at annual visit next week to see if it will compliment HRT or if I just need an HRT boost. Did try Clonapin for anxiety which initially helped but started to feel addictive. Really struggling to get through the day. Wish doctors had better answers. I really have never felt this bad in my life.

Sep 20, 2015 13:Sep 1 | said

Menopause and anxiety

OMG reading the menopause posts and anxiety just mirrors how I feel. I am 52 and periods all over the place. I have had a very stressful year but about 6 mionths ago I started sleeping very badly, early morning waking, waking with palpitations, night sweats etc. I also started terrible anxiety, starting with worrying if I would be able to get enough sleep and then worrying about functioning at work and then just moments of sheer anxiety about doing anything. I have lost a stone in weight and am even starting to feel I don't want to go out in case I have an anxiety attack. This has come out of nowhere as I was always a very happy go lucky person. I feel like I am a changed person and trying to hide it from friends and family. I don't want to stay away from home anymore as feel insecure, I saw doctor who has put me on lose dose fluoxetine which is helping. I hate taking tablets but she says anxiety and insomnia very common in menopausal women. I feel do sad that I am not enjoying this time of my life, I really hate it. It is comforting to know I am not alone.

Sep 17, 2015 00:Sep 12 | Pixie said

Menopause

I am 53 and perimenopausal (not menstruating for 8 months+). I was sick and tired of my family doctor being so unwilling to help with the huge list of worsening symptoms (hot flashes, night sweats, nightmares, foggy brain, weight gain, panic attacks, miserable mood, panic attacks, leaky bladder, zero libido, zero energy ...etc. etc. etc). I finally went to a women's health specialist NP who did saliva testing which showed something very important. The differential between my estrogen and progesterone was huge. I was having so many symptoms because I was so estrogen dominant. Further, my cortisol levels were very low. My adrenal glands were tapped out as well. I went on bio-indentical homrone replacement (made from yams). It took a couple of weeks to get the dosing just right for my body. It has been a couple of months and with proper vitamin supplements, the symptoms have literally all stopped. I can sleep and I am no longer having anxiety and panic attacks. Before treatment, I had almost forgotten what it was like to feel normal. Now I do not have daily body aches when I work or move. Next step is to deal with the extra pounds I had put on when I hit perimenopause. I hope this might be useful to someone else experiencing this stuff. Get the right practioner - ask LOTS of questions (write them down as you think of them). Learn all that you can about balancing hormones - especially the differential!

Oct 05, 2015 14:Oct 2 | Karen Gresham said

menopause

I am 50 and havent been to a dr in years because all they do is put me on massive doses of pills which keeps me in bed all the time..I am having all symptoms you have plus 30 more literally. Please help, do you know where there's a dr like you've seen in florida?? i know i need all those tests run as drs will not run any of them. I also have MVP and fibro also..these symptoms have been going since i was about 35. on/off HELP i need answers and a good doctor

Sep 15, 2015 17:Sep 5 | Lotta said

What seems to help me

After reading all the comments I realise that I don't suffer as much as most. I am 52 and menopausal. I do suffer with anxiety, mild depression and so forth.
These are the things that seem to help me.
I quit coffee and sugar. I started weight training and cardio at the gym. I eat healthy, really healthy. Even when I treat myself it's good treats. It's taken a while to beat the sweet tooth but it's worth it.
I don't trust in my motivation ( too fickle ) instead I use my will power.
Early mornings are a challenge. I try to focus on all the simple things in life that I am thankful for.
For me anxiety is my biggest challenge at the moment. It helps me too to remind myself, that the anxiety is a physical thing, my mind is playing a trick on me. It's not that my life is about to fall apart.
I wish all you lovely women empowerment. Never give up and keep searching online for inspiration and success stories, what has worked for others. I must admit I don't trust in doctors that much. Have had other illness (auto immune - FM ) in the past and found the solution on my own. So I know it's possible. Stay positive, never give up!

Sep 18, 2015 21:Sep 9 | diane said

Thank you!

Your words warmed my heart. Thank you for taking the time to share.
I will try to stay positive, as my anxiety is through the roof (much life trama in the past seven years have not helped).

:) Diane

Sep 13, 2015 01:Sep 1 | said

I am 50 and my periods

I am 50 and my periods stopped about one year ago, so I believe I am in menopause. This past two years I have worked with an NP that specializes in midlife care for women. She ordered hormone tests and I discovered that I have a lack of progesterone. So I am now on a pill to replace it. I take it twice per day. It has helped with the hot flashes. However, this past year my anxiety has increased dramatically. I am also emotional and irritable, fatigued, foggy and just all around out of sorts. I do not sleep well and wake often with feelings of anxiety and dread. I cry a lot. I have thought about asking my doctor for a prescription for the anxiety, but I hesitate to take those kinds of meds. I feel my NP will tell me to exercise, meditate, do yoga...honestly, I don't need more things to add to my to do list. I am already paralyzed by my responsibilities.

I used to exercise regularly, but I no longer have the energy to get to the gym. One reason is that physical exercise no longer contributes to restorative sleep like it once did. It just makes me more tired.

I generally eat pretty good. Sugar is a struggle and I go through periods where I cut it out completely. That does seem to help some.

It is a relief to read posts from women who are experiencing similar symptoms. I feel like I'm going crazy and it's kind of a lonely ride most days. No one talks about the misery of menopause. We should be talking about it though, as every woman on the planet will experience it eventually.

Sep 07, 2015 00:Sep 12 | JENNY said

THE IMPACT OF MENOPAUSE

I am beyond thankful to have stumbled across this site. As I've read each of your posts, I empathize with each of you. This season of change is unlike anything else I have ever experienced.

I am 51 and noticed last year that my energy was low, I felt irritable, and I was simultaneously experiencing anxiety and depression. Until then I had never experienced anxiety.

After have my first anxiety attack in March, I spoke with my gynecologist as well as a friend who is a psychologist about the origins of the attack. Both professionals told me it was menopause related. I was shocked, because I though menopause was just the end of my period. Wrong!

I went on a low dose of Fluoxetine (Prozac) which eliminated the irritability and made me less on edge. I'm still dealing with anxiety and depression on a daily basis, and I feel like I just want the old Jenny back. I feel like a foreigner in my own body. I already ate healthfully, exercised intensively five days a week, but still the anxiety and depression plague me. While I'm not thankful you all are suffering similarly, I am thankful that I'm not alone. I really felt like I was losing my marbles and didn't understand why. Now I know. I don't like it, but at least I know it's due to the change.

Aug 31, 2015 06:Aug 6 | Jules said

Menopause and Anxiety

Thank you everybody for sharing your thoughts and feelings. I would never normally comment on any forum but so pleased I found this one. I am suffering really badly with anxiety. I am almost 50 but have been suffering hot flushes and heavy irregular periods for two years. At the moment I honestly feel I am losing my mind. The feeling of dread from the minute I wake ( if I manage any sleep) is overwhelming. I have no appetite and so have lost a lot of weight. My GP has prescribed several different drugs but they have made me feel so ill. I am on a waiting list for CBT. I constantly worry that I am doing things wrong and saying the wrong thing. My memory is terrible. It is so hard for my husband to understand how I am feeling and this is putting a massive strain on our relationship. I get through each day hour by hour. I am finding it harder and harder to keep up to date with my work commitments. I would not wish how I feel on my worst enemy - and I am so sorry for you ladies that are suffering. Please know you all sharing your experience has made me realise that it's not 'just me' The more my husband tells me to sort myself out the worse I feel.

Sep 21, 2015 00:Sep 12 | barb said

Depression/Anxiety

I too am VERY thankful for stumbling across this!!! I feel like all the comments have described me to a T!!! THese questions have been troubling me for a good year now: Why do I feel like this? Who am I? Am I going crazy? The panic attacks are paralyzing me. I have no motivation. I have so much dread when I wake up in the morning. I even got to a point where I dont want to wake up anymore!!! My boyfriend does't understand and is ready to end our relationship. I am 57 and I feel like my life is over. I finally met with a psychiatrist who told me my symptoms are most likely hormonal!! After reading this I am sure! Now for a cure. I have always exercised and eaten well. Trying to meditate is almost impossible. Im hoping to learn more about CBT. Hang in there ladies!!! We have to be strong and work through this craziness.

Sep 05, 2015 10:Sep 10 | Pam said

anxiety and menopause

Jules,
As I read your comment it was as if I was writing it myself!!!! My anxiety started approx. 3 months ago after we moved from the city to the country. At first I thought I was just "adjusting" but each day just got worse and worse. I am the same as in I have a hard time falling asleep or if I do I wake up in a panic. I've lost over 20lbs as eating just turns me right off. I've even gotten to the point where I'm scared to drive for fear of having an attack. My doctor prescribed antidepressants which just made the anxiety and nausea worse so I stopped them. I am ow on two different types of anti anxiety meds which help control the fear and restlessness. I have asked the doctor for hormone tests since I had a hysterectomy at 30 (now 48) but my ovaries were left in. I too have felt like I'm losing my mind and didn't know who to talk to that MIGHT understand!!! Hopefully for all of us suffering with us there is something they can give us or do for us before we totally lose everything. Good luck and feel free to keep in touch

Aug 25, 2015 00:Aug 12 | said

im not going crazy!!

wow!! I stumbled across this forum and I am soo soo glad!! I truly and really felt as if I was going crazy! I just turned 54, been going through menopause since age 51! Hot flashes, night sweats, and just recently, anxiety and depression!! Been waking up early mornings with crazy fast beating heart, and a very terrible anxiety and feeling of intense dread, hopelessness, gloom and overwhelming feelings!! Enough to give me an upset stomach most times!!! I lost my dad tragically a couple a months ago and my work is physical and demanding. I am caregiver to my mom now, and feel that these recent events have brought on the anxiety and depression and ooh hahah also panic attacks!! I saw my doctor who prescribed Zoloft, lowest dose I took for 3 days and omg!!! I felt horrible!!! I wanted to get rid of the anxiety and depression, panic attacks but I felt a gazillion times worse!! I also felt like my mind was not mine and felt like I wanted to cry but couldn't!? I felt alone and scared!! I decided to stop taking those meds!!! Thank goodness!! Now I'm trying to go natural, change my diet, re joined my gym, called family up to help with my mom, go out and do things for me!!! Just reading that we are all going through the same thing has made a big difference in how I'm tackling things on a daily basis, just knowing that I'm not alone has really made it much easier to handle. And for those who are working with someone who has lost someone or who is going through a rough time. Go easy on them!!!! As they are trying as best they can and are sometimes just doing the best that they can by the hour, by the day!! To all of us, hang in there we are amazing and will get through this!!

Sep 10, 2015 16:Sep 4 | Pippa said

Agree!

Thankyou for posting your comments - I too wake every morning and need to rush to the loo as the early morning anxiety is causing upset stomachs :( I thought it was just me!

Aug 27, 2015 19:Aug 7 | Diana Deboer said

panic attacks

I read your posting and I am going thru the same thing.
I recently lost my mom and been taking care of her since 2006 and working full time. It is hard. Been taking to a therapist and she said we all go thru this with a death of a loved one and etc. Insomnia was my issue. So you are not
alone. Glad you are feeling better.
Diana

Aug 26, 2015 10:Aug 10 | Lonna said

reply

WOW, every word you wrote is me! I thought I was alone and the only one that went beyond hot flashes. I hate the thoughts that come into my head and I know they are not me. Thank you so much for posting and letting me know I am not the only one and not going crazy!

Post new comment

If you do not wish to leave your name, please leave the "name" field blank.
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.