The good, the bad and the ugly about antidepressants for menopause!

The good, the bad and the ugly about antidepressants for menopause!

Menopause is a natural process that marks the end of a woman’s productive years. And it can be a challenging time for many women.  While menopause brings with it a variety of physical and emotional symptoms, including hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings and depression, some doctors may prescribe antidepressants too frequently to mask these symptoms without exploring underlying causes.

THE GOOD:

Antidepressants can be an effective treatment option for depression and anxiety, which are common symptoms experienced by women during menopause.  Antidepressants work by balancing neurotransmitters in the brain.

For some women, antidepressants may be a necessary part of their treatment plan.  If a woman is experiencing severe depression or anxiety that is impacting her daily life, antidepressants may be a helpful tool to manage these symptoms.

Some antidepressants can also help alleviate physical symptoms of menopause, such as hot flushes and night sweats.  In some cases, the use of antidepressants can also help improve sleep, reduce fatigue, increase energy levels and restore a sense of well being.

THE BAD:

While antidepressants can be helpful in managing the symptoms of menopause, they are not a cure-all solution. In many cases, doctors are prescribing antidepressants without first exploring underlying causes of symptoms, which can lead to a missed diagnosis of an underlying medical condition.

Antidepressants may have unwanted side effects that can be harmful to some women, including dizziness, nausea, and sexual dysfunction.  Additionally, some antidepressants can increase the risk of bone loss, which can be especially concerning for women who are already at risk for osteoporosis.

Taking antidepressants can be expensive too and require ongoing use, which may not be the most cost effective solution in the long term. In many cases, alternative treatments or lifestyle changes can help manage symptoms of menopause without the need for ongoing medication.

THE UGLY:

The over-prescription of antidepressants can be problematic for several reasons, including using them as a quick fix without addressing the underlying cause.  Antidepressants can be addictive and may have serious side effects, such as withdrawal symptoms when stopped abruptly. Taking antidepressants without a thorough diagnosis can delay the treatment of underlying medical conditions and can lead to further complications.

While antidepressants can be helpful in managing the symptoms of menopause, they should not be the only treatment option available.

Ultimately, the over-prescription of antidepressants can have negative consequences for women, healthcare systems and society as a whole.  By adopting a more comprehensive approach to menopause treatment, we can ensure that women receive the care and support they need to manage their symptoms and maintain their health and well being.

SUMMARY

In addition to exploring underlying causes and addressing medical conditions, natural treatment options such as herbs, supplements and lifestyle changes can be beneficial for women experiencing symptoms of menopause.  Natural health practitioners can provide a holistic approach to menopause treatment that focuses on improving overall health and well being.  This approach can include dietary changes, exercise, stress reduction techniques, and the use of natural supplements. 

Unlike antidepressants, natural treatment options can often be less expensive, have fewer side effects, and may provide additional benefits beyond the management of menopausal symptoms such as improved cardiovascular and bone health.

While it is important to consult with a natural health practitioner before beginning any natural treatment regimen, the use of natural options can be a safe and effective way to manage symptoms and improve overall health during the menopausal transition.

Written by Mona Hecke

Mona Hecke is a degree qualified Naturopath, nutrition specialist and health and wellness writer.

With over 20 years in the health industry, beginning with a focus on children and families, and a bestselling book ‘The Lunchbox Revolution’, Mona is now empowering women through education and conversation to take action and embrace change. Gut health, mindfulness, nutrition, hormones, and menopause are the topics that women want and need to know to create their healthy future.

Mona holds certifications in Lifestyle Coaching, Kinesiology, holistic herbal medicine, and nutrition.

A recognised leader in the health industry, Mona’s strong social media presence and passion for influencing change will continue to be a catalyst for health reform for the benefit of every Australian.

Learn more about Mona Hecke.

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