It’s reported that women, regardless of nationality or socioeconomic status, have a higher chance of having depression than men. And while I’m a big believer in science, what I would submit is that while women in general, because they are attuned to both monthly & seasonal changes that affect them physically AND emotionally, often report how they’re feeling, it’s as likely that depression is a symptom of something else happening in the brain, even beyond hormones.
The reasons for when women are more likely to get depressed does have a lot more to do with where we’re “at” in life. Loneliness and isolation are certainly factors.
What I’m trying to suggest is that if you are a women in peri-menopause or menopause (or even a man nearing andropause), if you’re doctor prescribes antidepressants just give it a second thought first.
Hormonal Variation and Phases of Life Care
It’s thought that extreme hormonal changes can trigger mood swings in all women. Is that the case?
There are studies that show how the hormones can contribute to depression, but the reason is not yet totally clear.
Female hormones undoubtedly play a big role in “premenstrual dysphoria”, postpartum depression, and season affective disorder, or SAD. These forms of depression can diminish over time with the right support infrastructure in place as is frequently seen today.
It’s wonderful that women can share their stories with others and not feel so alone.
Once women pass into postmenopause, the average depression scores drop, but it’s those in-between years that women are vulnerable.
In menopause, this is the stage when women’s hormonal secretion change the most. Usually, women experience symptoms like lack of sleep, inability to concentration, things hurt, anxiety creeps in, there’s maybe a loss of appetite or lack of desire to cook, and women’s bodies change.
Do these symptoms sound familiar?
Do you have all these symptoms and yet your doctor is telling you, “you’re fine, your blood work looks good?” Meanwhile, your health is rapidly going down hill and your symptoms continue to pile up. Fatigue (can barely get out of bed), weight gain (look at food and gain weight), high blood pressure, depression, chronic sinus infections, etc.
Doctor Reveals New Model For Thinking About Depression
People often think of anxiety & depression as two sides of the same coin, when they’re not.
Yes, both are inflammatory but whereas anxiety is an instinctual fear-based response to stress, depression is rooted in a more cognitive part of the brain.
Ongoing examination of the brain as an immune organ (and not just a place for thoughts, nerve impulses, and things like sensory and motor functions), brings attention toward a concept in functional neurology called brain “hemisphericity”.
In this model, depression is a result of overactive “right” brain activity and, quite possibly, more subject to inflammation than once thought. Certainly, by middle age for both women & men, a lot of inflammatory processes can have taken hold.
Put another way, just as there are “degrees” of depression from mild to moderate to severe, so too are there degrees of inflammation.
A severe case of inflammation would be something like ulcerative colitis. Not only is it an autoimmune disease, but it is also subject to rapid flare, like a wildfire, and hard to turn off. I think that’s the point, or the direction this is going.
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Here’s a recipe for failure: A patient is actively flaring up with a progressive case of ulcerative colitis: bleeding, anemic, uncontrolled weight loss, no bowel movements (only water), can’t eat, and so forth. The normal course of action (medically speaking) would be to place the patient on immune suppressing drugs to stop the active attack by the immune system on the lining of the colon. Makes sense in the moment.
In the functional model, we would instead want to rule out what is at the root by running a sequence of proactive tests.
We want to rule out infections, exposure to chemicals, things that could be triggers. We’d want to identify lifestyle changes including targeted nutraceuticals. But what I see happening all around is what could be called the “dietician” approach. And look, I say it all the time —We have to consider your diet; however, we can’t forget your brain. And that’s what’s being missed in this model, is how do we reinstate balance to both hemispheres of the brain.
Why Are So Many People Under Diagnosed?