Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Are Mood Swings Controlling Your Life? It Could Be Your Hormones.

Our hormones can wreak havoc on our emotions, contributing to feelings of stress, anxiety and poor self-esteem, even panic attacks and depression.

Women are twice as likely to suffer from mood disorders and be depressed as men.  But by age 65, the rates of depression between men and women are more equal. Could a major decline in hormone levels be a contributing factor?

Estrogen’s effect on mood in women is well documented. Estrogen raises serotonin, endorphin and certain neurotransmitter levels, which balances mood, promotes a feeling of calm and improves sleep. Progesterone also has a positive impact on mood and has been called a natural antidepressant. In addition, both estrogen and progesterone have a role in cognitive or brain function, which includes our ability to think, learn, focus and remember.

During perimenopause, the years leading up to menopause when hormone levels begin to fluctuate and gradually decline, many women suffer from mood swings, anxiety and panic attacks. At this time, many women also report difficulty concentrating and an overall feeling of “fuzzy” thinking.

Some medical studies, including a University of Michigan report, suggests that changes in estrogen level during perimenopause and menopause can even be a trigger for depression in some women.

But what about men? At Southwest Age Intervention Institute, we know that men are just as affected by the declining level of hormones as women. Among the many reasons for maintaining a balanced level of testosterone is the positive effect it has on mood, self-esteem and quality of life.

In midlife, men often confront a vast number of changes in the workplace, in social settings and at home. Some men find it a challenge to adjust mentally and emotionally. They may lose confidence in themselves, feel tired all the time, irritable or anxious. There is an overall loss of vitality for life.  A diminished sex drive or inability to perform sexually at the same level as when they were younger can make it even more difficult.

Traditionally, men and women who report feelings of depression, anxiety or stress will undergo treatment with antidepressants. Yet decreased sexual desire and delayed orgasm are among the most common side effects of these types of drugs. And that can simply aggravate the situation for someone who is already upset by changes in their libido and capacity for sexual pleasure.

At Southwest Age Intervention Institute, we know that a comprehensive program that addresses diet, exercise, stress management, nutritional supplements and hormone replacement can help lift the cloud of emotional upheaval without harming your sex life.

The good news is that with appropriate therapeutic intervention, the variety of side-effects that come with diminished hormones can be prevented or eliminated.

Most important of all, it is never too soon or too late to take action to bring about a greater sense of calm, balance and happiness to your life. According to a Rand Corporation report, depression results in more absenteeism than any other physical disorder. It costs U.S. employers more than $51 billion in absenteeism and lost productivity.

For anyone experiencing serious depression, it is important to know that depression is one of the most treatable illnesses. The bad news is that the majority of people experiencing depression are not being treated. And that is unfortunate. Depression is not only a serious mental health issue, but also can be a contributing factor in heart disease and a weakened immune system. Don’t delay in getting help.

The Mayo Clinic offers these warning signs of depression:
·      Feeling sad or unhappy
·      Irritable or frustrated over small matters
·      Not interested in your normal activities
·      Reduced sex drive
·      Problems sleeping
·      Change in appetite
·      Restless and agitated
·      Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
·      Trouble thinking and easily distracted
·      Tired all the time
·      Loss of confidence or major feelings of guilt
·      Crying spells
·      Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide
·      Unexplained physical problems such as back pain or headache

If you believe you have starting declining somewhat and are experiencing any of these symptoms, we can help. Call Southwest Age Intervention Institute today and make an appointment to meet with our expert age management specialists. Let’s together get you back on track and enjoying your best days ever.

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