When we age, we produce less of two important mood stabilizing hormones, serotonin and dopamine. So, depression is a risk factor for both men and women as we get older. Yet twice as many women compared to men suffer from depression, which leads some to believe there is a link between the female sex hormones and depression.
1. Memory loss at midlife may not be related to aging, but depression. Depression affects our ability to concentrate and remember things. Our mind instead is caught in a cycle of self blame, guilt, or hopelessness,
2. Of the studies that differentiate between major depression and minor depression, an increase in minor depression (ie. non-clinical) is reported, rather than an increase in major depressive episodes,
3. Major depression is characterized by feeling sad or tearful all, or most of the time. Other symptoms include losing interest in regular activities and engaging in day to day life.
4. Those that seem to be at risk of suffering from major depression during menopause are those that have suffered major depression at some other time in their lives. This can include postnatal depression, severe depression associated with PMS, or any other type of clinical depression.
5. Some of the symptoms of perimenopause are also the symptoms of depression, so it's important to consider the whole picture. These common symptoms include tiredness, weight gain, insomnia, difficulties in concentration, memory loss, and a loss of interest in sex.
6. Depression is usually treated with psychological treatments and medication. The psychological treatments include cognitive behaviour therapy which looks at the negative ways we think; and Interpersonal therapy, to improve relationships.
7. Antidepressant medication covers a range including SSRI's, SNRI's, MAOI's, and others. Each class has a lot of individual medications within it, and people may tolerate one well, but have side effects on others. Finding an antidepressant medication appropriate to the individual can be a trial and error endeavor.
8. Some anti-depressants - prozac and others in the category of Selective Serotonin Re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI's) - may cause cardiovascular problems in some people after long term use.
9. If you're taking hormone replacement therapy, too high a dose of estrogen or androgen hormones can lead to side effects like headaches and anxiety. Synthetic progesterone treatments are also often associated with depression.
10. Caffeine and sugar, in excess, may have a negative impact on recurring depression.
11. Estrogen boosts the levels of serotonin and acetylcholine, which are neurohormones that make people feel good, and are part of a normal memory.
12. Deficiencies of the B vitamins biotin, folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12, have been linked with depression, as have vitamin C deficiencies.
13. Vitamin B6 is important because of it's role in making the monoamine neurotransmitters, which help stabilize moods.
14. Minerals linked to depression include deficiencies of calcium, copper, and magnesium.
15. St Johns Wort has been found to be as effective as prozac in treating mild to moderate depression.
16. Anecdotally, 5HTP has been found to help some people with depression who also suffer from weight problems and insomnia.
17. Our brain needs a small supply of good qualify fats every day. This is because nerve fibers are coated with a fatty sheath called myelin. Good sources of healthy fats include non-hydrogenated olive oil, sesame oil, and fish oil. Deficiencies of the omega 6 fatty acids may play a role in depression.
18. Depression is a risk factor for coronary heart disease.
19. Depression can increase the risk of more heart problems in people with coronary heart disease.