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

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Comments

Jul 24, 2016 14:Jul 2 | Louisa said

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Jul 23, 2016 03:Jul 3 | Don Lewis said

http://www.journalofnaturalhealth.com/panicattacks

When I read this story I was reminded of my long struggle with anxiety and panic attacks.

The first time it happened, I was a young teacher having a friendly meeting with the principal when all of a sudden I felt a strange flutter of nervous energy that went all through my body and became so intense that I could hardly breathe.

I thought I was having a heart attack. a co-worker rushed me to the doctor, who gave me a prescription and told me to go get some rest.

For many years after that, I suffered through more and more panic attacks. It got to the point where I never felt secure or at ease anymore. In fact, I felt that any day I would end up in a mental hospital.

When I sought help from doctors, they gave me the same knee-jerk reaction many of you with anxiety or panic attacks may be familiar with: a hasty prescription for a bottle of pills. Unfortunately, those drugs did nothing about the root cause of my anxiety and actually made my condition worse much of the time.

I knew that there had to be another way. I searched long and hard and finally came across some simple natural remedies that finally made my horrifying panic attacks disappear for good...to the amazement of my doctor.

In fact, you might want to check out this article, it really helped me a lot:

http://www.journalofnaturalhealth.com/panicattacks

Hope it helps anyone reading this!

Jul 22, 2016 05:Jul 5 | Alice Serinova said

Menopause

Menopause can wreak havoc on your psyche. Initially, you may have trouble sleeping and find yourself feeling unusually tired, moody or irritable. You may also have difficulty concentrating and suffer from memory lapses.

My mom faced symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats she even gone into hormone Therophy but nothing works. she went into depression also she lost her sex life too....only thing helped her from symptoms is fitness (yoga, cycling etc) and some natural products like viebien menopause support helps a lot to experience life without symptoms of menopause.

Jul 19, 2016 18:Jul 6 | Martha Alvarado said

menopause and stress

Dear all,

Thanks a lot for expressing your fears in this blog. I am very happy to feel I am not alone in this bumpy road. I believe in the power of the mind and I am learning how to cope with the panic attacks using CBT(Cognitive behavior therapy) . I work in my thoughts and in my breathing. I even think about punching those panic attacks on their face. I use a lot of distractions for the mind: music, candles and I read a lot in the nights when they come. I try very hard to distract the mind form what is happening and I have learned not to be so afraid. Is matter of time..getting use to them like getting used to a bad smell or an uncomfortable relative...takes time and conditioning of the mind.
Please believe in yourselves and never allowed doctors to play with your brain..taking antidepressants and other drugs is something that will come back to you sooner or later.
Pharmaceutical industries need Guinea picks to experiment with..love yourselves and think that if all women have gone through this previously we can also do it !! Cheers.

Jul 12, 2016 21:Jul 9 | Sanne said

Unbelievable perimenopause symptoms

I'm 54 with hypothyroidism (thyroid removed) and in perimenopause. Last period was 2 months ago and lasted 2 weeks! I have been having symptoms for about 3 years now. Started with heart palpitations, then night sweats/hot flashes, rise in blood pressure, feeling of internal shaking, can feel heartbeat pounding and shaking body, ringing in the ears, aching joints, anxiety/panic attacks, and muscle twitching to name a few. Seen my primary care doctor, OB/GYN, endocrinologist and neurologist. Got back normal reports except for Vitamin D & iron deficiency, thyroid levels fluctuating and cholesterol number was high. All this is so scary... I just want to feel normal again!!!!

Jul 10, 2016 14:Jul 2 | Corrie said

Menopause symtoms never ending

I am so happy to find these comments. I went through an awful menopause starting at around 54. I am 60 now and its been about 2 years since my last period. My symptoms were so bad I prayed to die. Like many of you I ended up at emergency thinking I was having a heart attack. I would get continuous waves of dreadful crippling anxiety and my worry over having some sinister disease was out of control. I went to doctors for every kind of cancer you can imagine. Every test and doctors visit always concludes the same thing...my whole body is like a 20 year old, they can't even find any arthritis and yet I feel worse than people I know who are sick. I eat pretty much organic, take no medicine(except an a tiny Xanax as needed) and run about 4 miles every night...but the hot flashes and anxiety have now come back no matter what I do. I am thankful for Xanax, that is the only thing that is helping me, it doesn't matter what I eat, or if I drink caffeine, the anxiety comes. I have taken a small piece of Xanax when needed for 30 years. Sometimes I go weeks without it and sometimes I need it a few days in a row. I am so thankful I see many have menopause symptoms that return...it gives me hope that it can pass again. I have learned that menopause symptoms are beyond WEIRD and unless someone actually is feeling the same things they can never understand.

Jun 25, 2016 01:Jun 1 | Yvonne said

Not enjoying life

Hi, I'm 51,and I hate my life...ever since I turned 50 my life has gone down hill, mentally and health wise.....I work 5 days a week and I'm just so tired all the time..I can go to sleep because I'm exhausted but wake up a few hours later and can't get back to sleep , I have anxiety about the smallest thing. I have to follow a certain routine in my daily life and if something unexpectedly happens , I have a panic attack.....my body hurts all over , had ultrasounds of my body because I think I have cancer but nothing shows...I'm not enjoying life at all...my youngest is 14,and I'm forcing my self to try and look happy in front of her...my doctor put me on antidepressants ,but they make me so sick....my periods are all over the place...does anyone know what the best thing is on how to cope
Thankyou

Jul 24, 2016 12:Jul 12 | Jaylene said

Depression/anxiety with menopause

I am a bit younger than you, but I suffer the same symptoms. I started with peri menopause due to ovarian failure at 38. I had both ovaries removed at 40. The anxiety and sense of doom have been unmanageable. I am now 45 with three suicide attempts. Most nights when I do sleep, I wake at 4 am with severe stomach pains that often lead to vomiting. I am divorced, with no children, but I do own a farm and I am full of fear that I will lose it. I recently changed doctors and was prescribed a drug called Trintillex, an SSRI, like you I do not tolerate the side effects. This time however, I was prescribed Gabapentin to help. I also take 1 mg of clonazepam to sleep. I won't lie, the first two weeks were very hard, but I felt that my life depended on it. I made it through! I now sleep, and the side effects become less with every day that I take the combo. I really think it's worth a shot for you. I no longer live with constant fear, it's still there, but now it is manageable. Please, I know many people are against drugs, but I think in times like this we need to do what we can, for ourselves and for our families. I wish you well, Jaylene.

Jul 05, 2016 03:Jul 3 | jan said

anxiety and menopause

hi im 54 and i feel like i am going crazy i have horrid thoughts nightmares shaking crying my chest feels really tight , i have been back an forth to the doctors that many times its like my second home now, i take antidepressants but it doesnt matter what i have been given it just doesnt help,, i am just so pleased that there are ladies out there that no what i am going through and that understand , thanku

Jul 02, 2016 11:Jul 11 | Donna said

Anxiety

I use to have anxiety and panic attacks. I researched for 6 months because I was on depression meds for it. Depression meds send serotonin to your brain telling you..... ok your happy no problems. Well, I got to thinking what if the rest of your body needed it. So, the research began. Low levels of serotonin cause ANXIETY. In order to raise your serotonin you need to rebuild it because your body isn't making enough to stop the anxiety. I started taking the brand Natrol 5- HTP. You take it before bed. When you lay down to go to sleep it turns off all those thoughts that keep you from trying to go to sleep. You sleep better. You will need to be on it for about 2 weeks. See how you are doing are the anxiety levels still high? Then try for another 2 weeks ever night an hour before bed. Once you get your levels to the right point you can stop taking it but will need to do maintenance periodically so will have to take it until the anxiety is gone. Maintenance will be ongoing. But, you do not have to take it everyday once cured only when it feels like it is coming back again. Please do your own research on this and also talk to your pharmacist because I have no idea what meds you are on and if there will be any complications from the 5 HTP with your meds. Sam-E is also gr8 for helping you feel calm if you are also dealing with depression. Good luck. Reike will also get rid of anxiety if you have a place near by that practices it.

Jun 18, 2016 20:Jun 8 | Donna said

Wow...so happy to see that I

Wow...so happy to see that I am not alone. I have never had panic attacks or been particularly anxious. I'm 54, had my first panic attack at 51 while I was still having periods. Now I'm running through cycles of hot flashes/no hot flashes but when they are there the anxiety is through the roof. I felt like I was going crazy but all or your stories show me that I'm not...thanks for sharing! I'll try some of the herbal remedies that have been named.

Thanks!

Jun 17, 2016 21:Jun 9 | Debbe said

Perimenopause and Nocturnal (Night) Panic Attacks

When I was 46 and a half, I awoke to a burst of fear and my heart was in an irregular rhythm. I thought it was heart related and went to heart doctor. Everything was normal with my heart after echo, ekg and stress test and other heart test. I realized it was anxiety of some form manifesting at night. But why? Doctors would say I am not handling stress right, but I had the same stresses, same life than before it happened. Then my periods started coming closer together. Then years past and at 48 I had an anovulatory cycle and more changes, mood, anxiety during the day, heart palps, sore joints. I felt 100 years old. I cut out most caffeine and changed my diet but nocturnal attacks became more frequent, mostly before my periods. Which was happening so often. Then at 49 my first hot flash (which happened at night). I am now 50 and noticed that hot flashes at night have increased and nocturnal panic attacks have decreased. I am hoping that the information I am reading is true and the nocturnal attacks will end for good. I haven't had one for two weeks and that is a good sign. Never had them before age 46 and never had this issue when I had my son, no post partum, no issues when I got my very first period. Just now. Everything went haywire. Looking forward to it easing off.

Jun 09, 2016 17:Jun 5 | Renee said

Anxiety Relief

I'm 46 and have had pretty severe premenopausal symptoms for about a year...weight gain, decreased libido, mood swings, fatigue, and an increase in anxiety. I've gone to several physicians, and of course, nobody has the magic pill to bring me back to my old self again. I've tried testosterone, which just made me aggressive and grow hair everywhere that I had to have removed, though it did temporarily increase my libido. I've tried progesterone, which made me sleepy during the day, and whenever I have my levels checked, they tell me they're "normal". I know I don't feel normal, and it's very frustrating. What I did discover though, for my anxiety, is Gai Adrenal Support, which I purchase at Whole Foods. It has Holy Basil and Ashwagandha, which helps me with my stress levels and anxiety. Is it a cure all? It isn't, but as long as I take it everyday, it really does help with the anxiety and my mood, without any noticeable side effects. I'm not a big "herbal person". Being a nurse I tend to rely on standard medicine or traditional treatments, but I do believe in this, and this particular brand. Hope this helps.

Jun 08, 2016 13:Jun 1 | Susan said

panic

when driving on the freeway all of a sudden! I am 59 and have been pretty good at dealing with stress but not any more. Chest and arm pain - have had two EKG's and chest xrays - doc says my heart is fine - it's just me. Feeling like I've failed at dealing with this. Am taking magnesium and "Chill Pills" from the health food store but doc has given me Ativan and another anti anxiety drug - I don't want to take them but if I don't calm down soon I may have to. Been walking, going to the gym, practicing breathing and pretty much talking to myself all day long! So unhappy :o(

May 07, 2016 18:May 6 | sha adams said

Postmenopausal

Hi Ladies,

My name is Sha and thank you for expressing your concerns and testimonies regarding our stages of hormonal changes.

I too am experiencing postmenopausal symptoms that is taken me time to adjust, but with comments such as yours, I just might be able to handle this.

Thank you again

Sha

Apr 30, 2016 20:Apr 8 | Tracy said

menopause/migraines/panic attacks

Hi. I guess I am not alone. :) I am 54 and still getting periods. I seem to have got the hot flashes under control with black cohosh. I am finding now it's panic attacks and fluttery heart that are an issue. I have come off all meds for migraine as they were not working and maybe coming off them has led to an increase in my anxiety. I would not touch HRT - too much risk of cancer there. I am not going to swap one disease for another that is in the long run - harder to deal with. Seen it with two of my friends on HRT. I do understand we just want to feel better - but be careful with that one. As for the person who was n HRT for 29 years and at 80 still getting hot flashes. That is why. HRT does not take away menopause. If you take HRT , you will be dealing with menoapusal symptoms at an older age. No thank you! I don't want to be 80 and having hot flushes. Good info about the thyroid. Mine has been off most of my life, but never enough that GP's will do anything. They don't acknowledge the Barnes Basal Test. Most accurate way to tell if yr thyroid is not functioning well. This truly is a trying time. I just feel unwell, nauseated, headachy, stiff and anxious. Just wonderful. Oh well - lets hope it comes to an end sometime soon.

Apr 23, 2016 21:Apr 9 | said

Menopause symptoms

Shaky, blood pressure spikes, Thanks for sharing. I can relate. Dong quai is a supplement that has helped me immensely. Also magnesium. We will all get through this. Wow. I am glad I saw this site.

Jun 14, 2016 06:Jun 6 | K said

It does not feel like it

It does not feel like it sometime. I just want some good sleep.

Apr 16, 2016 13:Apr 1 | Evans said

I have been sitting here

I have been sitting here reading all of the posts and how many go thru the same things yet in different ways.

I will be 55 in June and for me in started at 40 due to a partial hysterectomy at 28. I have had the heart palpitation's, the panic attacks, can't sleep and pretty much all of the symptoms each one you have or have had. I feel for each one of you and have tried many of the same things to get relief. I found that antidepressants did nothing and made sure to get off of them and stay off of them. I went to many doctor's and agree that the minute you tell them what you are experiencing they start pushing the pills. I finally found a regular physician that decided to test my thyroid and found there was a problem and put me on Synthroid. I was 41 when that happened and I thought oh thank God I will now start to feel like myself again. After a few months it helped and the panic attacks and the heart palpitations stopped but I still did not feel like myself. For me it was not just perimenopause and thyroid but also my personal life was not in balance. I was in an abusive marriage, had a business and worked a full time job. My stress level was off the wall all the time. I finally decided I had to make changes in my life before I ended up ending my life. There was an opportunity that happened and I saw it as a way out for me and I took it. I was scared to be on my own at 45 and have to deal with the financial impact of losing everything and starting over. I can tell you that it was the best decision I could have ever made.

I also began to do research on my thyroid and found that menopause and thyroid issues can be linked together and that thyroid issues can cause so many issues like the ones that I had experienced off and on for many years. I found an endocrinologist in my area and made an appointment to discuss other medications for my thyroid because I felt the Synthyroid just wasn't helping. When the blood tests came back he also told me I was in menopause for sure and suggested taking the extra vitamin D-3. He also diagnosed me as having Hashimoto's which is an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid and started me on Armour thyroid. I have been taking this now for also most 10 years and even though I still have the occasional hot flashes and some anxiety or stress at least I can manage it.

I decided to tell my story in the hopes that maybe this could help someone on here. I can tell you also that I went thru many many doctors who told me I didn't need to even be on thyroid medication. My advice is to find an endocrinologist that is willing to do all of the blood tests needed not just the TSH blood test. Ask them to test you for Hashimoto's which is very common in women in general and especially in perimenopause and menopause.

I wish each one of you the best and hope that you can find the relief that you need to have a better quality of life. We all experience things differently as women yet we have so much in common when it comes to our body, mind and soul. My thoughts and prayers are with each one of you.

Apr 11, 2016 01:Apr 1 | juniep said

woken up from sleep

I too have had similar symptoms. I am 52 and had my last period about 2 years ago. Lately I've been waking up suddenly out of a sound sleep with an adrenaline rush I feel from my chest down to my toes!. I have to do deep breathing to relax. It can happen up to 3 or 4 times a night. I also have hot flashes throughout the day, nothing I can't deal with but annoying. I feel nervous and anxious lately. I have also noticed that I can smell EVERYTHING! Body odors, perfume, cologne, from far away. I'm afraid to go to sleep. My doctor asked if I wanted something for anxiety, but I don't want to go down that slippery slope. Maybe I need HRT? I just want to relax but seem unable to. My poor husband tries to be understanding, but he's at a loss.

May 06, 2016 17:May 5 | Darla said

Me too!

juniep,
I too am suffering from the exact same symptoms as you are. It hit me about 6 months ago in the middle of the night. It has not let up since. I feel as if I am going crazy. I too smell everything. I have been to the ER 5 times in the last 6 months thinking I am dying. Did you ever find any relief?

Apr 13, 2016 17:Apr 5 | tcc said

I'm 52 as well. What you

I'm 52 as well. What you describe sounds like what I have been going through. I am trying my best to find the best terms to describe the electric surge that waves through my body along with the palpitations. Is it adrenaline? Is it a unique form of hot flash??? Been googling perimenopause, heart pounding, palpitations, panic attacks, anxiety for months now. I am very leery of HRT. I don't like taking medication. However been reading about other folks who feel 'normal' after starting this. Thanks for sharing! Hang in there! I'll try too!

May 04, 2016 13:May 1 | Cynthia said

Menopause

I'm 49 years old will be 50 July 2016. I am also having these electric surge that wave through my body along with palpitations, dizziness and the feeling of the life leaving my body. I've had EKG's, Nuclear stress test, TSH &other blood work and now a holter heart monitor everything comes up good. I've googled everything i can think of. Of course, one doctor prescribed Lexapro and another Xanax. This does not feel like the menopause i've heard others speak of i'm not hot or sweating. Someone help me please!!!!

Jun 17, 2016 21:Jun 9 | Debbe said

Electric Surges

This is similar to the nocturnal panic attacks I was describing. Had them since turning 46, and just turned 50 now. I don't take anything for it because nothing works anyway and I just try to deal with it. I was told that maybe I need to cut this out, cut that out, meditate, but I have to say for me these are 100 percent hormonal. I know this because they come and go. More before my period than any other time but they can come and go at anytime. I have done wrong with my diet and have eaten chocolate or sweets before bedtime or even had a tea before bed and nothing. But then one night I might have been good and had whole foods only and nothing bad and bam, a bad nocturnal attack. Sometimes I am so disoriented when I awake that I think I am dying and change clothes to get ready to go hospital, then I realize I am half asleep and go back to bed. I have gone through this for 4 years now. I noticed lately I am having more hot flashes and less nocturnal attacks so if something is shifting, fine with me. I will take the hot flash ANY day over these scary night attacks. I hate them and they terrify me to no end. One thing that may have made them better is that I read to set my alarm about the time I usually have them. Mine occur within 1 hour of sleep, sometimes 30 minutes after falling asleep, so I started setting my alarm and I would wake up before the attack. I could tell my body was getting ready for one too. Doing this for a few weeks has helped me catch them before and I have not had one for two weeks. Crossing my fingers this did the trick.

Mar 28, 2016 14:Mar 2 | C said

there is hope

I feel so sorry for you all! I have been there to the extreme. Desperate, I went on Prozac, at too high a dose, and thought of killing myself. Nearly 5 years later, I am 58 yrs old, on Prozac and HRT, and have a pretty normal mental life. I still get the occasional mild panic attack that is totally tolerable. I'd like to get off the Prozac but not sure if I can. Tried once and I think I weened to fast. I think I will need the HRT forever. If you can't get it in control with therapy and natural methods, consider meds. I don't like to take them, but they have enhanced my quality of life. I have happy days and am active again :) Try the website www.womentowomen.com They have a fantastic natural approach to menopause, and tons of information for women. Lastly, I have heard many women have become very sensitive to meds in menopause. I am one of those. The prozac I am prescribed is a liquid, and I only take 5 drops. With the liquid, I can use the most minimal amount. Good luck ladies. Never give up.

Apr 08, 2016 01:Apr 1 | Julia said

anxiety and menopause

Hi ladies! I'm glad I happened upon this discussion. I can relate to much of it and have empathy for all of it. When I brought up the subject of panic attacks/menopause
to my gyno, she immediately assumed that I was depressed and started talking about putting me on depression meds. She didn't question me about my life or emotions at all. I left feeling deflated as it took a lot of courage to even bring the subject up. I then talked to my family doctor,and he took the time to ask questions and he really listened to me. I left his office with an rx for low dose xanax, 15 doses with no refills. I have only requested one refill in a year in a half. It works like a charm, and I don't have to take a daily depression medicine after all. I wish my gyno would have talked and listened to me. I am going to be 55 in June. Thank you for sharing your experiences. We really are not alone

Mar 26, 2016 19:Mar 7 | Joy said

Be careful

I feel I should caution others based on my experience with anti anxiety meds. After 9 years on Xanax, I found out that in the long run, it will make anxiety worse. Finally a psychiatrist told me that the more you try to subdue anxiety the worse it gets. I find that to be true. I have recently detoxed from benzodiazepines and it was the hardest thing I've ever done. Those of you determined to ride it out and refuse medication, you are on the right track. I wish I would have known this 10 years ago. I tried them all, and took them only as directed by 5 different psychiatrist. In the end it was me that suffered through the detox and my brain having to relearn how to react to fear by itself. I still have anxiety, but it's getting better instead of worse like when I was medicated. I'm hoping it will pass with menopause. I suppose that those who have recovered from menopause are not looking at this website.

Mar 19, 2016 09:Mar 9 | Elizabeth nicolle said

Menopause and anxiety

Hello Ladies, well it is good to hear that I am not alone albeit I am a deal older than all of you. I had a Hysterectomy when I was 41 but had started menopause when I was 38. And I am here to tell you that I have suffered all of these symptoms ever since then. I am now nearly 70 years of age. Of recent years I have started having anxiety, but have suffered Depression for as long as I can remember, hot flushes are mixed with the anxiety and I have them continuesly. It just drives me silly, I do take a anti depressant which has helped me with the dealing of the day to day of my life. I agree fresh air, exercising, and healthy eating is a great help. But you can imagine how I feel at my age that I am still suffering with all these symptoms. Even after taking. HRT as well for almost 29 years. Do hope that you ladies will feel better in the near future. Good Luck

Mar 17, 2016 20:Mar 8 | Lorie said

So great to know I'm not

So great to know I'm not alone. I just started Zoloft a week ago. Hoping that it helps with all of the symptoms and gives me my life back. I feel like I'm going crazy. I've never had this before in my life. It just started nine weeks ago it's definitely menopause..... Xanax is a lifesaver when it gets really bad! 54 years old

Mar 14, 2016 13:Mar 1 | swosumom said

how to get through it

I am in total shock, this is like reading about myself, I am 48 about to turn 49 and started having panic attacks three years ago out of the blue, gyno Dr. says I am in peri-menopause. Have been to emergency room 9 times because I thought I was having a heart attack. Gyno dr. says I should try a low dose birth control pill to help with the high and lows of hormones. Has anyone tried this while going through but not yet through full menopause. Has the anxiety gotten better once you completely went through menopause. My male physician just said " oh you have generalized anxiety disorder". That made me very mad, since it was the first panic attack ever in my entire life. Any advice you have is very helpful. God Bless.

May 19, 2016 13:May 1 | jenny said

panic anxiety

I have experienced panic/ anxiety attacks at age 48. Its confusing and disturbs your everyday life. Its a constant battle to stop the mind wandering towards insecure thoughts and feelings , suggesting you are unable to cope with the simplest of tasks alone without help. I have stopped alcohol take passiflora, practice yoga and in CBT therapy plus I take Menopause Support from Vogel along with a multi vitamin. Ashwaghanda on a daily basis is also very helpful . It is very frustrating you just want to be your old self, relaxed , not worrying and being cautious about every situation. I find taking each day as it comes and being mindful helps , as any future event whether small or big causes anxiety and many what if questions clutter my mind .

Jun 12, 2016 21:Jun 9 | Janet said

Reply

I have to comment on all the responses on this website. Seems like we are all experiencing the same type of menopausal symptoms. I have always had anxiety, but it is ten fold now, with menopause. In addition to the anxiety, I have the hot flashes, the tingling in the hands and feet, the heart palpitations and just feel out of sorts on most days. I have refused to do the HRT route as i am worried about the cancer side of it. I do take a xanax before bed so I will be able to sleep a few hours without waking up all anxious. I also take Evening Primrose Oil and Dong Qui. Both seem to help with the flashes. I'm more concerned with the anxiety. Hopefully once we get thru menopause, it will subside somewhat. I wish there was an easy fix for this, but it looks like it's something we all have to go through....

Mar 28, 2016 23:Mar 11 | said

I am with you

Hello,
You sound just like me. I had a panic attack while sleeping, out of the blue, I was 46 years old (it woke me up with my heart beating out of my chest—I thought it was a heart attack). My husband was away so I had to call 911 and go to the hospital with my 6 year-old in an ambulance in the middle of the night. At the hospital, they did all the tests and told me it was a panic attack, which shocked me since I had never had one before—I wasn't even sure they were right at the time (Although I also had been having a lot of hypochondria. Real symptoms, that were from anxiety, that I thought were from some horrible disease or cancer.) As an aside when I asked the doctor in the emergency room for something to help me since my husband was away, so I wouldn't be back the next night, he looked at me like I was a drug addict in there looking for drugs. He finally gave me 10 pills which I later found out were benzodiazepines. When I got home I was shaking so bad, I accidentally dropped about 5 of them down the drain. Nothing like dropping your anxiety medicine down the drain to ease your mind. I knew if I went back to the hospital for more they would send me off to rehab.) While I have had social anxiety to an extent my whole life, it was in no way debilitating, but this was/is. I did go to a therapist for about a year, which helped, and tried various SSRIs, with which I had side effects of one sort or another with all of them, so I gave up. I am now 53 and this new anxiety has been my biggest peri/menopausal challenge. Night sweats and hot flashes are minimal to nothing, but the anxiety at times has been debilitating. I feel like a different person and I cannot even hold a normal conversation sometimes. My social anxiety has gotten WAY worse. I will say that as of about a year ago I have moved into full menopause and I think it is getting a little better and I have recently given up coffee and it really has seemed to help, so try that if you haven't already. I guess my main point is to let you know you are not alone and your story helped me, so I hope that mine will help you somehow and I am thinking and hoping with time I will get back to who I used to be.

Jun 17, 2016 22:Jun 10 | Debbe said

EXACT SYMPTOMS I FELT

Hello,
I had this happen to me when I was 46 and a half. I took a taxi to the emergency room and although I was low in potassium and magnesium, there was no known reasons why I went through that. Doctor's wouldn't tell me it was perimenopause and I had to learn that on my own. Sadly, because it was such a scary event, I kept having them. It has been four years and it seems I finally have learned to control them. Not sure yet but the last two weeks there have been none, whereas since turning 49 they had been almost nightly for that whole year. (I just turned 50.) Anyway, I read somewhere to wake myself up by alarm before I usually have those attacks. Because mine happened within an hour of sleep, my alarm was set usually 30 minutes later. I was able to stop them like the suggestion and maybe my body is getting used to not having them since I did it so many times. I haven't set my alarm for two weeks and nothing. Maybe they were tricked to stop, or maybe it is just they are finally easing. Either way, that method did work because it stopped one from coming on. as when I would fall back asleep, nothing would happen the second time I would lay down. Try that and just know, this anxiety is those crazy hormones that Doctors know nothing about. If they did, they wouldn't try to give us paxil for anxiety. They would fix the hormone issue itself. I chose to deal with these ugly symptoms and now that I am accepting it and looking forward to actual menopause to happen, I see some of my symptoms have already started improving. I think it is timing though, no my effort. Back when I was 49 no amount of nothing was going to make me better. It was a dark year. I didn't have no one to help me understand that this is all hormone and i feared it, and let it get me. I hope you will see you are not alone and have an easier time moving forward than i did. You are fine, it is these hormones. :-)

Mar 26, 2016 13:Mar 1 | judy said

anxiety and doctors

You'd be surprised at what little gynos and other doctors know about anxiety related to hormone levels. When I went through perimenopause I experienced for the first time anxiety and claustrophobia. When I told my gyno it was because of my hormone levels she said she never heard of that - only to find with one quick goggle search that it's very common. Next time I came in - she had done her research and understood my symptoms. But in the meanwhile I had gone to a counselor for pills so I could fly in a plane. The symptoms are now gone that I'm in post menopause.

Mar 22, 2016 05:Mar 5 | jenny said

anxiety peri menopause

Hello , just like you I began having anxiety/panic attack. Going from a confident happy go lucky person into a very cautious worried mess !! I was offered medication and declined. I now take Passiflora drops Menosan and ashwaghanda. I also have CBT therap and practice yoga, breathing techniques daily plus keep a diary. It has helped a lot . I also cut out alcohol and white bread. It is horrible being labelled with GAD . I urge you to try the things I suggested. Hope it helps and I completely understand .

Mar 11, 2016 15:Mar 3 | Patty Schultz said

anxiety/menopause

Hi ladies! wow I am so glad I found this blog, because now I know its not just me. I always had gad..ever since I was young..thought I went through menopause already, cause I haven't had a period in like 6 years ago it stopped..i just turned 57 a couple of weeks ago...but about 8 months ago last summer..I woke up one morning, with a severe anxiety attack..and have been fighting them ever since!! its been horrible..went to my dr several times...they keep saying its anxiety..tried different meds nothing worked went on anolder antidepressant, that I was on for 20 years..and thought it stopped working..so I just went back on that..tried the hrt patch but got intense bleeding went off of that...but think I might go back on..cause I do think it started helping with the servere anxiety I've been getting..my menopause has just been horrible!! I am not happy we are all suffering at all...its just good to know i'm not alone...because since july last summer its been so hard just
getting through each day!! can't wait till I wake up one morning without these horrible feelings!!

Mar 24, 2016 04:Mar 4 | sunflower55 said

Hi I feel exactly the same as

Hi

I feel exactly the same as you. The anxiety is driving me mad. I find it hard to get through the day. I had never had anxiety before, it all started around 49 on and off. I should be post menopausal now as I am just 57, but this last year the anxiety and depression is ruining my life. Have you found anything that helps.

Mar 16, 2016 18:Mar 6 | Jo said

Anxiety

Patty - during peri menopause, once every two months, I was having episodes that seemed like someone had given me an injection of adrenalin, which sent anxiety symptoms through the roof. Not panic attacks as such, just a feeling of extreme and uncomfortable nervousness, peppered with constant extreme attacks where my body's anxiousness level rose, peaked and troughed. It was putting me out of action for 10 days every two months. I tried everything herbal, relaxation techniques, yoga, meditation etc. After being told to see a psychologist, which was a complete waste of money, a doctor put me on the pill. No more episodes until menopause, when I had another episode, so I went on HRT. I've been fine since. To anyone with severe anxiety who suspects it might be hormonal, I say this...don't suffer - ask for chemical help. Trying to gain relief from severe hormonal anxiety by talking to a psychologist or using herbal remedies is a bit like trying to stop your hair growing by talking to a psychologist or drinking dandelion tea. Hormones are chemical and powerful - they need to be treated as such. An online program helped because it showed me I wasn't alone or abnormal - but it didn't stop the symptoms. To all those people out there who do manage with herbal remedies, I say, be grateful you have mild symptoms - and have sympathy for those of us who need more help!

May 09, 2016 17:May 5 | Claire said

Thanks

Help!!! I am going out of my mind! Panic, anxiety, and chronic pain is bad enough, but the dizziness and vertigo are unbearable! I can barely write right now. I'm on Paxil and Xanax and I wonder if it's just making things worse. I was afraid to ask for HRT but I just read this. Maybe I should ask about it. Thanks.

May 20, 2016 03:May 3 | Dee said

Vertigo/Dizziness

Hi - thank goodness I'm not alone. Been suffering vertigo/dizziness since peri menopause. Been checked bt ent, neuro docs but all they say is it must be anxiety...grrr

I am 57 and all started at 49 but the last 2 years have been worse. I wake every morning with butterflies in my stomach, I have panic attacks therefore avoid going out.

I am using oestrogel with separate progesterone. If I try to reduce it things get far worse...... I really hope this ends soon

Mar 07, 2016 17:Mar 5 | BY said

feeling crazy with menopause

I am so glad to have found this site/comments. I am 54 and have been having many of the symptoms that most of you are experiencing or have experienced. At age 48 after coming home from work, I immediately begin having a panic attack. Never had one before, but it scared me half to death. From that day on I have been having rapid heart beats for no reason. My periods stopped about 2 years ago. Lately, I have been having feelings of dread, doom and as if my life is coming to an end. I agree with some of the other comments where the doctors only want to prescribe antidepressants. My blood pressure has gone up and I have been unable to sleep. I feel as though I am always scared and afraid that something is going to happen too me. As soon as I lay down and try to sleep, the anxiety creeps up on me and makes me afraid to sleep. I have experienced vertigo for the first time 2 years ago and talk about scared out of my wits! What has helped with some of these symptoms is an herb called Dong Quai. I have been sleeping better since taking it. I have begin to exercise light jogging and walks every morning. I have been eating much better and drinking lots and lots of water every day. I am just hoping that all these crazy feelings will be over soon one day!

Mar 29, 2016 15:Mar 3 | Tina said

I am so glad you commented in

I am so glad you commented in here, I just happen to google and this came up. You hit the nail on the head with everything I have been experiencing over the past month or so. I thought I was going out of my mind. I am breathing much easier just knowing that what I'm going through is what others are experiencing too. I'm 49 yrs old and feel like I'm all alone in the world which is weird, because I have lots of friends and family but it just doesn't FEEL that way. I hate this but refuse to take meds. Thank you for posting and making me realize that I'm really not alone.

Mar 10, 2016 21:Mar 9 | Lori said

Menopause

Omg, I'm also 54 and have the Exact same symptoms as you. Scares the heck out of me!!!!! Everything you mentioned is happening to me as well.....thanks for sharing.

Mar 07, 2016 03:Mar 3 | diana said

jitters in my body

hi my name is Diana I am 57years old.i whant to know do menopause make you have jitters in your bodies.it comes and go.how can I stop the jitters thank you.

Mar 21, 2016 02:Mar 2 | Rene said

Yes I expwtience it too also

Yes I expwtience it too also feels like shaking body

Jun 30, 2016 13:Jun 1 | Nina said

shaking

Yes! It is horrible...Hands shaking. Shaking all over. Feel like I need to run or something.

Mar 17, 2016 20:Mar 8 | Lorie said

Menopause

I'm having all the same problems. So so scary.

Feb 29, 2016 21:Feb 9 | Caroline said

Hi I had my Thyroid removed

Hi
I had my Thyroid removed (cancer) when I was 27, Im now 49. I take 150 mg of Thyroxine daily. I have had weight gain in the past 2 years, still have my period, though it is irregular (sometimes 2 weeks late, like the current one). Last year it was very heavy compare to what Id been used to, that seems to have eased over the last 6 months. It is also quite short - 3 days of bleeding. Those are the only physical symptoms I have.

This last period I have noticed that I have been fairly out of control as far as my level of moodiness goes, I am biting the kids heads off (I am a single parent) and mulling thoughts over inside my head - bad thoughts about lost opportunties (friends, work ... you know the usual 'lost life' poor me stuff). I have always been a very well-balanced, strong person but have had just about every major life challenge available (cancer, divorce, family law court, redundancy, unemployment ... ) yet Ive always remained strong and coped very well with all of these things in my life, whilst these issues frame my life, they dont define it ... But right now I sometimes feel that the pain I feel is overwhelming.

I'd like to know if anyone knows anything about the interaction between menopause and women who do not have a Thyroid gland and you are taking Thyroxine? should my dose be changed? Im asking because I heard somewhere, once upon a time years ago ... that I can expect an 'easier' menopause as I dont have a Thyroid - this sounds like rubbish, but Ive heard it a couple of times in my life - so Im curious!

Apr 14, 2016 19:Apr 7 | Nancy said

I also had thyroid cancer

I also had thyroid cancer and removal of my thyroid when I was 25. I take 125 mg Synthroid per day. I had a bad problem with panic attacks, anxiety, and depression that began just before my thyroid surgery. I went through a yr. of therapy and started an antidepressant. I have continued to take it because it has eliminated all panic attacks and anxiety until now.

I am now 55 and beginning menopause. Unfortunately, the past year has been horrible. I am attempting to handle things with natural supplements and progesterone cream. I've dealt with so many thyroid hormone imbalances over the years that I really don't want to add another medicine. My anxiety has been really bad lately along with the hot flashes, night sweats, increased depression, and crying over nothing. I am also divorced and have to work full time.

It may be that my recent menopause problems are so bad because I have a history of anxiety and panic attacks. I totally feel for every single woman going through this stuff. I get up every day, cry, have a few hot flashes, and try to calm my anxiety before I go to work. Some days I think I cannot handle it another day.

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