Anger & Depression in Menopause


Menopause can be a trying time for a woman. Hormone changes begin to cause wildly fluctuating moods at the same time many women are experiencing major life changes, like children moving away. The emotions each woman must face are different, but two of the most common are sadness and anger. Understanding anger and depression in menopause means taking an active interest in what is going on in your body.

Risk Factors for Depression

Most women get through menopause just fine, without any signs of depression. Some, however, will experience it for the first time, or as a recurrence of an earlier depressed period. Generally, the more changes have occurred recently, the more likely you are to suffer depression as a result. Because of rapidly shifting hormone levels, perimenopause is a particularly vulnerable time. Additionally, the following factors increase you risk for developing depression during menopause:

  • Had one or more depressed episode earlier in life
  • Had family history of depression
  • Suffered from PMS
  • Had postpartum depression
  • History of depression while taking oral contraceptives

Midlife Depression

Menopausal depression should not be confused with midlife depression. While the former is primarily biological, the latter is typically psychological or situational. Some of the things that can trigger depression in middle life are:

  • Response to loss of parents, divorce, poor health, children going to college, loss of youth
  • Medical issues, including thyroid dysfunction, sleep disorders, or heart disease
  • Drug and alcohol use may exacerbate depression symptoms, as well as worsening the hormonal effects of menopause, like hot flashes


Treatments for anger and depression in menopause will typically go in one of three directions: Medication, therapy, and alternative options.

Medication - The go-to option for those willing to brave the side effects. Most modern antidepressants are very effective, and a wide array of them means that there are options if the first one you try has really unpleasant side effects.

Therapy - There are more types of therapy than you can shake a stick at, but the two most recommended for menopausal women are interpersonal therapy, designed to help you see how your relationships may have contributed to your depression, and cognitive behavior therapy, which focuses on teaching you to reframe your personal beliefs to bring about change, and to replace negative behaviors with positive ones.

Alternative therapies - These therapies might include things like light or color therapies, and may be designed to address very specific problems for a specific set of people. One popular activity not often thought of as therapy is exercise, and yet physical activity has a huge impact on mood.

Discuss with your healthcare provider which treatment option(s) will be right for you.


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