Psychological distress in menopause

The psychological distress in menopause as in worry, anxiety, fear, depression aggravates menopause symptoms, adding burden to biological changes taking place in peri-menopause, during menopause & post menopausal women.

Women’s ability, flexibility and adaptability in managing their psychological distress vary and most important is women’s positive / negative attitude toward’s the experience of menopause.

In the research study by Rosie Bauld of University of New England NSW, Australia & Rhonda Brown (School of Behavioral, Cognitive and Social Science.

One hundred sixteen women age 45-55 years were recruited for this study. 

They completed a short questionnaire asking about stress, psychological distress, (i.e. anxiety, depression, EI ‘ Emotional Intelligence ’, attitude to menopause, menopause symptoms and physical health.

They reported 25% of western women suffers severe symptoms of menopause and 50% mild – moderate symptoms of menopause. In this study direct and indirect relationship were evaluated between stress, other psychosocial factor ( e.g. Social soupport, coping ability, Emotional Intelligence), menopause severity and physical health in middle age women.

Some women experience profound sense of loss at menopause ( e.g. loss of  maternal role, youth, beauty ) which may lead them to feel that life has lost of purpose.

The Findings are:

* Mood disorders are reported to worsen the experience of somatic symptoms and severe or protracted menopause symptoms may also worsen mood in some women.

* High Stress and anxiety levels have been reported to potentially worsen the somatic symptoms of menopause. For example undesirable life events were recently found to be related to worsen menopause symptoms severity.

* Low social support is a well known correlate of menopause symptoms and physical and psychological wellbeing in women and low social support and distressing relationship are reported to lead to stress and illness.

* Women’s who held negative prior to menopause are likely to experience  depression and worsen menopause symptoms.

* Fostering a positive attitude to menopause was found with less severe menopause symptoms and psychological distress.

* One small study reported that treatment-seeking menopausal women use more avoidance coping than healthy menopausal women: High avoidance and low aggressive expression coping were found to be correlated with severe menopause symptoms.

* Emotional Intelligence (EI) has been linked to variety of health outcome and emotional well-being, specially levels of perceived stress, anxiety and depression. EI is also associated with the maintenance of better social and interpersonal relationship.

Note: Emotional Intelligence (EI) is defined as the ability to recognise and regulate emotions in oneself, and others and use the information to guide one’s thinking and actions in a adaptive fashion

As Wellness coach, the most important area I tackle in helping clients is leading them to the core of their psychological distress aggravating menopausal symptoms. When the core source of the physiological or psychological distress are dealt with, wellbeing goes back to optimal balance.


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