Treatment for Depression and Herbs for Menopause Symptoms
Question for Dr. Leia: I believe I am suffering from post menopausal depression. Can you please advise what I can take to help?
Dr. Leia’s Answer: Dear Jan, menopause is a natural aging process which can manifest in many different symptoms, one of which is depression. Since the body goes through wild fluctuations and hormonal changes which eventually lead to the decline of estrogen and progesterone at this time, it is only natural that the emotions will also be effected along with these physical changes.
Depression can affect every woman differently. You didn’t mention how long you have been depressed or feeling down, or for how long you have been post menopausal, or going through the change, but you can probably correlate your feelings and emotions to your bodily changes and life situations. I would mislead you if I told you that there would be one single simple supplement or pill which would work its magic upon your feelings or emotions, but I can gently suggest a few options which might be available to assist you in this time of transition.
First, I would seek out a qualified medical practitioner who can do a complete physical examination and some laboratory testing for you. Your depression might indeed be organic in nature, and related to your declining hormonal problems, but then it could also be related to decreased levels of thyroid function which could also make you feel depressed, fatigued, listless, and cause increased weight gain, lethargy, and forgetfulness. Quite often during menopause, the thyroid hormones can also become depleted and might need gentle nudging to be restored to normal levels again.
Usually, a naturopathic physician or natural medicine doctor will be able to order both blood testing and saliva testing to check your hormonal levels, and if needed, be able to treat you with a product which is more natural and has the least amount of chemical side effects. Sometimes, this may mean naturally compounded hormonal therapy, botanical or herbal supplements, state of the art nutraceuticals, vitamins and minerals, or other naturally derived substances in which you may be deficient.
After you have been examined and checked out for organic imbalances in your hormones or other laboratory values, and when all of these parameters are corrected, then you may try one of the following herbs for menopause symptoms of depression.
This is one of my favorite natural anti-depressant nutraceuticals which has been shown to be as effective compared to a moderate antidepressant and usually has no side effects. Its added benefits include help with joint pain and also an excellent liver tonic and detoxifier.
St. John’s Wort
This is a natural herb which has also been found to help with very mild depression. However, in some people, it can cause a skin or dermatitis reaction if one gets too much sun exposure. Also, to be on the safe side, it should never be taken along with any other chemical prescription drugs.
Remember not to take any herbal or natural substance in combination with other anti-depressant chemical drugs and do not take more than one natural anti-depressant product at one time. More is not necessarily better, and they may interact with each other to cause unwanted side effects.
Also take a good long look at your current life situation and see if you are under any stress. If stress is part of the problem, you may want to make sure that you see a licensed professional to whom you can talk with and tell them about your problems. Usually there are innovative psychologists who can teach you self help methods called thought field therapies such as EFT or Emotional Freedom Technique, and other stress reduction techniques. You can also purchase a relaxing CD or tape and make a point of listening to it on a daily basis.
Thank you for taking the first step and asking about treatments for depression. And good luck with the options available to you.
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