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Anger Is Real - Here's How Menopause Transition Affects Mental Health

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No matter how much you feel, you’re not crazy.

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And while an estimated 1.3 million women in the US go through menopause each year, the experience can produce an incredible sense of isolation that often serves to exacerbate mental health symptoms, as Vanessa McGrady, 54, can attest.

McGrady, who lives with her 11-year-old daughter and fiancé, describes herself as “in solid perimenopause” after five months of no periods after spotty periods, and explains that she feels lonely as she struggles with symptoms. “During hot flashes [a recent] Burbank, a California-based journalist and communications expert, said, “Oh my god, isn’t anyone else feeling it?” I remember sitting at the table crying because I was so hot. “They were sympathetic, but I almost felt insane. It’s like I’m the one who’s so hot and uncomfortable.”


For Gina D’Amico, 42, of Lockport, Illinois, who entered premature menopause at age 38 due to various autoimmune conditions, hot flashes were also at the center of her menopausal mental health struggles. “I definitely had a huge increase in anxiety because I couldn’t sleep through the night from the hot flashes that woke me up every two hours,” she recalls. “My mental health plummeted for a while until I took an antidepressant help. Mood swings got pretty out of control. It was far worse than any PMS symptoms I’ve had before.”

D’Amico’s experience is an example of how perimenopause and menopause symptoms can add up to each other, leaving you feeling down or outright angry. For example, if you suffer from hot flashes, night sweats, or just old-fashioned insomnia, getting a remedial night’s sleep can be quite challenging. This can definitely have a negative impact on your mood and mental health — not to mention quality of life, concentration and work productivity, says psychologist Sheryl Kingsberg, chair of the OBGYN Division of Behavioral Medicine. Counselor at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center and Alloy.

And as for the much-discussed anger? Dr. While it’s high time we dispel the problematic myth that going through menopause automatically means being “out of control and spoiled,” Kingsberg says some women experience mood swings as hot as hot flashes. Dr. Depressive episodes aren’t as common as anxiety or longer periods of depression, but few women report irritability manifesting as an out-of-control mood or outburst of anger, Kingsberg said.


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