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

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.

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!!!!

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 .

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.

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

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.

Feb 21, 2016 20:Feb 8 | Sera said

Menopause and Anxiety: What's The Connection?

I have been experiencing much of what has been already said: an overpowering dread about everything, extreme anxiety, depression, aches and pains all over (particularly painful in my shoulder and hip area), headaches, a feeling that I can no longer cope . . Hot flashes, increase in weight around the tummy area and PTSD.

I have Hashimoto's disease (under active thyroid illness) and it has taken nearly three years to have this stabilised. My thyroxine levels were causing me to be either over or under the normal range.

My psychiatrist keeps wanting to place me on an anti depressant, but as a researcher of mental health, I know these are largely hit and miss as the following peer reviewed paper notes: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4172306/

My doctor keeps concentrating on workplace bullying, yet I believe my issues are more complex. I believe I have extreme menopause symptoms, thyroid issues, and issues from bullying. . . What to do? I am on HRT patches, will take an occasional benzo, and pain relief via Panadol for the aches and pains?

I attend group therapy, have undertaken a mindfulness program and read materials to assist me to relax. . . But the hormonal symptoms are persistent and I don't know what else to do. I have moved away from being a poised, independent and successful researcher, into a very unhappy, anxious, person who feels constant dread and fear, who is unable to work . . I am happily married, and should be enjoying my life.

My thanks to everyone for their comments. It has helped to. It's I am not alone. May God bless each of us with a speedy return to good health.

Mar 22, 2016 14:Mar 2 | said

Mindfulness and acceptance

Many of the symptoms you have, I have too: Overstressing to life events, feelings of dread, etc. I believe mine have a genetic component, exacerbated by menopause. I am 59 years old. I took Prozac for ten years, which did help, along with occasional Valium and trazodone for sleep. When I decided to try to wean off Prozac, I saw a counselor who introduced me to mindfulness, since cbt didn't seem to be my thing. With practice, it seems that this (and an occasional glass of wine!) may be my way to better mental health, along with consistent exercise. Here's to all of us discovering a way to continue our desired life's journey.

Feb 14, 2016 21:Feb 9 | said

sleepless in VA

Thank God for this site! thought I was losing it!

Feb 09, 2016 01:Feb 1 | Mar said

Hi, it's nice to know I'm not

Hi, it's nice to know I'm not alone with my anxiety. I'm 54 and am in menopause. Had a partial hysterectomy two years ago and the hot flashes started a few months afterwards. I'm having a hard time falling and staying asleep, have obsessive thoughts, not that new actually, but am finding it more and more difficult to concentrate. Get hot flashes, dry sinuses as well. I'm interested to hear if anyone has had success treating the anxiety with herbal remedies. I have an appointment with a Naturopath but it's not until April. In the meantime, have increased exercise, which I hope will help.
Thanks:)

Feb 16, 2016 21:Feb 9 | nora said

anxiety and menopause

go plant based, sounds crazy but not only does it help with anxiety, but helps to prevent disease like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and auto immune diseases... research Dr. John Mcdougall, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Michael Greger, the list goes on and on of plant based doctors that help people return to health and rid themselves of all the medicines that make our bodies toxic. Good luck :-)

Apr 13, 2016 17:Apr 5 | tcc said

Diet is important but I'm still having issues

I am strictly whole foods plant based (no oil). Have been for years now. I still am having major issues with what I hope is only -ha!- anxiety and not a heart problem. I'm 53, perimenopause with constant heart pounding, palpitations, adrenaline or electric surges through my body, migraines, hot flashes. I finally went to cardiologist to get checked out. Ended up calling in sick today as I had to drive myself to the ER thinking I was having a heart attack! I had tightening in the chest, adrenaline, light headed... (I still can't really describe the electric rush that surges through my body during an attack.) They said it was nothing. I've never been like this in my life. I've been a rock. Now I just can't get down to the bottom of this problem that has been going on since last Oct. Glad to read others' stories. I guess I'm not alone, ladies!! Thanks for sharing. Good luck everyone.

May 17, 2016 10:May 10 | Suzanne said

Hello - I noticed what you

Hello - I noticed what you had written and wondered if you had come across Kundalini associated with menopause, I feel to point you in this direction just to research....Your symptoms ring very familiar to mine which has been an ongoing kundalini awakening since i was 33, now 48 and perimenopasual...unfortuantely this isn't understood much in western medicine yet but more and more people are experiencing this..it can feel very frightening but is completely natural...it is also more potent in women around menopuase.

Feb 21, 2016 20:Feb 8 | Laurie said

I agree

Go plant based - does not sound crazy at all. In fact it's one of the most sane things I have ever done, if not the most sane! Nice comment :-)

Feb 05, 2016 11:Feb 11 | Gwed said

45 and Premenopuse

For Almost two years now I have suffered from Anxiety, night sweats, gaining weight around tummy, feeling tired. Last months I went to Doctor to get checked and I told about all my symptoms. She suggested to do blood work to if I am experiencing pre- menopause. Two weeks later the results came back and it confirmed I am pre- menopause. I am glad to find such a blog because I am I know that number 1. I am not crazy, I can share this site with my loved ones especially my husband.

Here what has been helping me when I feel like I am about to experience anxiety attack... I PRAY. This has helped a lot. This has reduced the hurt, mood swings, bad thoughts. Ladies you are all in my prayers, please pray me as well. This is a condition you can not explain to someone until they experience it. Thank you for sharing your stories.

Feb 03, 2016 00:Feb 12 | Lynsey said

Menopause

Isn't it amazing that there so many of us getting these symtoms : eg anxiety, stress, etc, change of life they say, yes I agree never felt so different, just don't feel the same as I did, my concentration is sometimes bad, I can feel miserable want to be on my own, but sometimes feel quite good, it's wierd, another thoughts I have is worrying about family my children, they are young adults but you worry about them . I do get Ike as if my brain is not working properly which is frustrating, just feel so different, but you have to just get on with it, do the best you can, I try to keep positive

Feb 02, 2016 20:Feb 8 | Nancy said

Thank you everyone. I am 59

Thank you everyone. I am 59 amend have had a long menopause. About 3 1/2 years ago something came up that I didn't want to discuss. The anxiety from it grew into bad depression, besides all the throwing, tearing up and destroying things. It was bad. Now that I have finally discussed it with my family and dr. They mad me realize menopause had a huge impact on it. Anyway on Paxil and hoping things will calm down. Good luck and God Bless

Feb 02, 2016 20:Feb 8 | Nancy said

Thank you everybody. I am 59

Thank you everybody. I am 59 and I went through an issue about 3 1/2 years ago. At the time I didn't want to discuss it but I had daily anxiety from it which then turned into depression. Not to mention the things I have broke, tore up and destroyed. I have been a mess but when I finally understood that it was from my menopause I felt somewhat better. Taking Paxil and have an understanding family.Menopause can send your once sensible mind into a rambling mess. Good luck and God Bless.

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!

May 22, 2016 13:May 1 | tina said

pre menopause

I feel bad for all women that have to go through this .I suffered from extreme anxiety since my 20's .for years I was unable to drive or sometimes leave my house due to severe panic attacks .it took me until I was 40 to get over my anxiety and fears . now I just found out I am in peri menopause after getting a blood test. because I had missed my period for 4 months . i now have been getting panic and axiety attacks again .I'm already on anxiety medication and take zanax if needed for panic situations . right now I'm scared I'm going to go back to where i was before which was hell .does anyone know how long this will last? thank you wish you all luck

Mar 29, 2016 07:Mar 7 | Abby said

help

Oh, I feel for you. I hvae felt the same. If you want to email. I would be happy to. You are in my prayers, and God DOES care.

Abby

Mar 07, 2016 02:Mar 2 | lee said

Reply to Brenda

Brenda,

I am so sorry to hear this. What you are experiencing is awful. Are you involved with a Church or Temple that you can reach out to? Sometimes they have connections for help. Look up religious based social services, that might be a start given a financial issue. I would also call a couple of therapists and ask if they know any place that you can get help given your situation. Also, if you have a family physician or GYN you can ask their advice. They might be able to help somehow. Also google local, state, federal help for anxiety and depression. Maybe something will work out. If you are to depressed to do the leg work ask a friend or family member to help. Please let us know if you are able to find help. This is serious and no one should have to feel this low.
Lee

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!!

Mar 22, 2016 15:Mar 3 | Jaime53 said

Anxiety

I had to comment because I was the same age when I went to the doctor thinking I had heart issues. I would wake up in the middle of the night thinking I was having a heart attack! Went through all the tests, including heart monitor and was told it was just nerves. Well, it did make me feel a little bit better knowing when I experienced these things, I could almost safely assume I wasn't having a heart attack, but I still had anxiety attacks especially at night before going to sleep. This happened off and on for many years. I am now 63, went thru menopause at 56 and lately was having some form of heart palpitations every day. Was told to cut back on calcium supplements and try to get most of my calcium from foods and to try taking magnesium. I think the magnesium helps, but I went back to taking 500 mg cal a day and palpitations came back. Now, I take one in the evening if I did not get enough calcium from foods. The anxiety is gone and I feel much calmer. I do experience a slight case of nerves once in a while, but nothing like it was. I am not saying this will work for you and suggest you consult their doctor to see if calcium supplements might be to blame.

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