The Truth About Panic Attacks In Menopause (You’re Not Alone!)
Never had a panic attack before menopause began? Well, we hate to say it but…you may have to get used to them!
While most women don't have an overwhelming number of panic attacks, they do commonly start occurring during menopause, thanks to the fluctuations in your estrogen and progesterone levels.
It's also common for your anxiety levels to rise and for a bit of depression to set in. Mood swings, irritability, and other related symptoms all pop up as well, adding to the mix of mental health issues that go along with physical issues like insomnia and hot flashes.
Sounds delightful now, doesn’t it? Yes, it’s true - menopause can really do a number on you!
However, if you understand the root causes of your menopausal panic attacks, you can find ways to soothe your mind and body and “beat the heat” of these pesky buggers!
What Is a Panic Attack?
A panic attack is exactly what it sounds like. Your body suddenly and automatically shifts into fight or flight mode, which is what's supposed to happen when you're in a life-threatening situation.
The problem is that panic attacks, the main symptom of panic disorder, occur during mundane everyday events.
You could be doing something as simple as brushing your hair or reading when you feel one coming on – your heart starts racing, your breathing quickens, and you feel as though the walls are closing in on you. You all of sudden feel the need to get outside and get some fresh air as soon as possible, so you can calm down.
That's a panic attack, and unfortunately, it's not the only mental health disorder that menopause brings to visit.
Increased Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety and depression can also go hand in hand with menopause. Even if you aren't predisposed to these disorders, you may see symptoms of them begin to pop up as your hormones begin to fluctuate.
The same hormone that regulates your reproductive system – estrogen – also plays a role in regulating the serotonin in your brain. When it diminishes, you can end up wrestling with panic attacks, anxiety, and depression.
Anxiety can rear its unwanted head at any time of the day, but it commonly worsens at night, leaving you with racing thoughts about everything in your life when you're desperately trying to sleep.
Depression, on the other hand, can be mild, affecting your overall thought process and making it difficult to do things like focus on the tasks at hand.
Of course, in women who already struggle with these conditions, it's important to note that they can worsen, thanks to menopause.
Mood Swings and Other Symptoms
Nope, that’s not all! On top of panic attacks, anxiety, and depression, women dealing with the scourge known as menopause also have mood swings and hot flashes.
And in some cases, these blessed mood swings and hot flashes can bring on panic attacks or social anxiety because you begin to sweat and feel as though everyone is looking at you.
Menopausal irritability, which feels like PMS times five, is another “oh-so-exciting” hallmark of menopause.
So, it’s no secret that overall, these mood swings, hot flashes, and irritable moments can make your life less than enjoyable.
The Role Hormones Play in Your Mental Health
This all just doesn’t seem fair, now does it? Why do women have to weather through all of these things during menopause? Well, there’s only one culprit to blame: our hormones.
Two of the main reproductive hormones in the body, estrogen and progesterone, play an active role in balancing your mental health.
So, as your hormonal levels begin to fluctuate and eventually decrease drastically during menopause, your body ends up in chaos, wrestling with panic disorders, anxiety disorders, mild depression, and mood swings.
Reducing Panic Attacks
If you’re suddenly plagued by panic attacks, there are a few things that you can do to keep them at bay.
First, it’s good to know that caffeine and sugar speed up your system (temporarily), which can exacerbate these heart-pounding panic attacks. So, cutting back on the sugary snacks and those extra cups of coffee can surely help.
In addition, there are also some highly effective breathing exercises and techniques that can shift your mind out of panic mode, stopping the panic attack dead in its tracks.
Lastly, traditional psychiatric medications can also play a role in reducing your pesky panic attacks, but it’s always good to know that you have other more holistic options.
Like we said, thankfully, there are some all-natural solutions out there to come to your rescue!
Finding an all-natural tea designed to support women going through their menopausal chapter and replacing those hormones through dietary supplements will do wonders for your mind, body, and soul.
In addition, if needed, seeking proper mental health resources will also help if you feel your symptoms are worsening beyond what you can handle on a daily basis.
Just remember, panic attacks and anxiety are a normal, yet clearly unwelcomed, part of menopause. So, you’re not alone or going crazy. It’s all just part of the magical journey of menopause.
So, grab a steaming cup of menopausal support tea and “cheers” yourself… because you are amazing!