Depression

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I ran across an article last year at the online publication The UK Daily Mail entitled, “Women with extreme PMS will now be deemed ‘mentally ill’ following controversial revision of health manual.”

The health manual cited in the article is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, used by the American Psychiatric Association. The “extreme PMS” which the manual has deemed to be a form of mental illness, is actually called PMDD – Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder.

Treating women with hormone imbalance as if they are stricken with mental illness is hardly a new phenomenon. Just ask any woman who has sought help for her perimenopause symptoms. She’ll tell you. But now that the American Psychiatric Association has officially listed it in their diagnostic manual then I guess it’s officially “official.” Women suffering with hormone imbalance are mentally ill.

The baby-boomer-feminist in me would like nothing more than to go all “postal” over this. But, then, how ironic would that be? A classic catch-22 if there ever was one. So I shan’t.

To further rub salt in the wound, The Center for Women’s Mood Disorders, run by the Department of Psychiatry at The University of North Carolina Medical School at Chapel Hill, also recently posted a link on The Perimenopause Blog’s Facebook page seeking women to participate in a research study entitled PERT – Perimenopausal Estrogen Replacement Therapy – in order to study the effects of estrogen on depression, and cardiovascular disease in perimenopausal women.

I actually think this is a worthwhile study because low estrogen levels, and hence, low serotonin levels, are key in understanding depression in women during perimenopause, and even menopause. But do we have to keep referring to issues of hormone imbalance as “disorders?” Or worse yet, deem women who struggle with symptoms of hormone imbalance as mentally ill? Really?

To say that I am appalled that in the 21st century we are still treating women as if there is something inherently wrong with them and how their bodies are designed to function is a massive understatement. But I am also painfully aware of my “David” status in my role as a healthcare advocate for women in the Goliath world of Western medicine.

My voice is but one drop in an ocean of voices whose influence is far more powerful than mine. Believe me. I get it. It also makes it hard to know sometimes which way to set your sails.

Should I keep trying to push my way through the headwinds of powerful institutions like the American Psychiatric Association or the American Medical Association or the ever present and pernicious pharmaceutical industry?

Or should I just keep doing what I think I do best: talking to women, interacting with women, and encouraging them to trust themselves, and what they know about their own bodies?

I’m thinking I’m going to stick with my sisters.

Because, quite frankly, women know more about the influence of hormones on their moods than any Freudian inspired institution will ever know. I can assure you of that.

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Hot Flashes & Stress in Perimenopause? Breathe Deep with Zenytime!

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If you’re looking for alternatives to hormone therapy to treat your symptoms of perimenopause, today’s sponsored post will be of great interest to you!   Read on to learn about an exciting new App for your phone which will help you manage hot flashes and stress during perimenopause!   “If you practice deep breathing exercises […]

October 13, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

A Review of the Nutribullet: One Amazing Gadget!

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UPDATE:  I was contacted by a representative from Nutribullet who wanted to put a sponsored link in this post.  She made an offer that was a good deal for her, but not for me. I turned down the offer and gave her my advertising price for sponsored links.  She countered with another offer which was still lower […]

August 30, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Dear Magnolia……Does Anybody Really Give a Crap?

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Today’s Dear Magnolia post is from Lisa. Lisa is grieving. Yes, she’s also experiencing other symptoms of perimenopause, namely,  anxiety, depression, and other symptoms related to estrogen dominance.  But, she’s also struggling with grief . Grief is the part of perimenopause that no one talks about.  Well, not very much. Grief doesn’t sell, I guess. You can’t […]

August 22, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Clinical Depression in Perimenopause

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In her ground breaking book, The Female Brain, physician and neurobiologist, Dr. Louann Brizendine, tackles the issue of hormones and depression in women. Intrigued by research data which shows that women suffer from depression at a ratio of 2 to 1 compared to men, Dr. Brizendine deftly outlines the different stages of a woman’s life and the effect that […]

July 7, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

I Have a Tendency to Neglect Myself

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Do you? I haven’t written as regularly as I’ve wanted to for quite some time now.  A very long time, truthfully. It is primarily because I have been grieving.  Oh, how I have been grieving – the loss of my father, then my divorce, then the loss of my mother. I know we all face loss […]

June 17, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Menopause, Marriage, & The Male Brain

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Dr. Louann Brizendine is a doctor of psychiatry and neurobiology.  She is the founder and director of the Women’s Mood and Hormone Clinic in San Francisco, California. She is also the author of the books The Female Brain and The Male Brain.   I have referenced  The Female Brain  here many times, because in my opinion, it is one […]

March 5, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Symptoms of Perimenopause Symptoms of Menopause

I thought it would be appropriate – and helpful – to follow up on a recent post I did on the difference between perimenopause and menopause and provide a list of the symptoms associated with each. Though the terms are often (and I’m guilty of the same) used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. Perimenopause is a transitional […]

November 17, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

Viniyoga for Anxiety & Depression in Perimenopause

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This past weekend we had a lively discussion on Facebook on the topic of anxiety and depression in perimenopause. There’s a reason for that, too. It’s a huge problem for women in perimenopause. Right up there next to the, “I think I’m going crazy” symptom of perimenopause. Which is probably why the only solutions the medical community seems to have […]

August 28, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

Hypothyroidism, Health & Happiness: The Riddle of Illness Revealed

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It’s been hard for me to move away from this topic. Primarily because physicians like Dr. Hotze, and other healthcare providers, whom I respect, continue to address it. But, also because I think they are shining a necessary light on the issue of faulty testing procedures for hypothyroidism. Of course, the baby-boomer-rebel in me is […]

August 16, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

Why do I feel like I’m Going Crazy in Perimenopause?

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It is the most common thing I hear from women regarding perimenopause. “I feel like I’m going crazy! What is wrong with me?” And there are a variety of reasons why women might feel this way too. Personally, I think the primary reason is the simple “craziness” of perimenopause in general. The wacky mood swings, […]

July 1, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

Estrogen Replacement Therapy: Yes or No?

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Let’s face it.  The average women does not understand the role of estrogen during perimenopause.  But, when the average OB/GYN doesn’t seem to understand it very well either, is it any surprise then that women looking for help for their symptoms of perimenopause are clueless? It also doesn’t help that there is a big, wide […]

April 3, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

Depression in Perimenopause: Beat it With Exercise and Light

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We’re still on the topic of depression in perimenopause for the month of March. Heretofore, we’ve discussed dietary changes to include foods which provide the chemical building blocks, so to speak, for your body to produce serotonin, a natural mood regulator. But food alone is not enough to beat the blues of depression in perimenopause. Exercise and exposure to light […]

March 25, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

Depression in Perimenopause: Let’s Eat Some More!

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If you’re anything like me and you love to eat, then you were probably positively delighted to learn from my last post that you can eat your way out of depression. You will also be delighted to know that this post is about eating, too. Yes indeed, meno-sisters, it is hail to the knife and fork […]

March 19, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

Depression in Perimenopause: Eat Your Way Out of It

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You have to admit. Eating your way out of anything just can’t be bad. Especially if it can help you manage health challenges like depression in perimenopause – and it will. In my last post I told you there is a direct correlation between a woman’sestrogen levels and the serotonin levels in her brain. I also told you that serotonin […]

March 17, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

What Causes Depression in Perimenopause?

Depression in perimenopause is the blogging topic for March here at The Perimenopause Blog. I hope my writing extensively on these topics for an entire month is helpful for you. As I’ve said previously, the typical 500-600 word blog post just doesn’t lend itself to a thorough discussion on a particular topic in my view. Hence, my decision […]

March 4, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

You’re Not Crazy, Honey, It’s Perimenopause!

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Today’s post is a letter I received recently from a reader.  Her story is typical and so it was something I wanted to share with you all in hopes that it will help you feel a little better about your journey through perimenopause.  Kathleen’s symptoms are not unique.   Her experience in trying to get […]

March 1, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

Getting Through Perimenopause: Step by Step

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“You don’t have to see the entire staircase…….just take the first step.”  Martin Luther King, Jr. I ran across this quote not too terribly long ago.  Given that we are recognizing Dr. King’s life today (or yesterday, depending on when you get this post) and his contributions to civil rights in our country, I thought […]

January 16, 2012 CONTINUE READING →

35 Symptoms of Perimenopause: Good Grief

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Okay, technically, grief is not usually mentioned as a symptom of perimenopause. But, it should be. Because, believe it or not, good old fashioned mourning and an overwhelming sense of loss (aka, grief) is something that many women experience when they enter perimenopause. It usually comes out of left field too.  I mean, most of […]

December 11, 2011 CONTINUE READING →