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Panic Disorder Can Develop or Worsen During Menopause

On any given day there are approximately 45 million American women that are going through menopause, with 5% of that number between the ages of 45 to 50 years old.

Research data from the CDC indicate that while the majority of women transition to menopause without developing any troubling psychiatric problems, panic disorder is the most common mental health issue reported.

Menopausal Panic Attacks Can Last For Years

Menopause often brings difficult emotional and physiological changes during this change of life phase. Studies show new-onset panic disorder has become a common new diagnosis for women going through menopause. In addition, women with pre-existing panic disorder may find their symptoms and mood changes worsen. Menopause brings changing hormone levels where women often report alternating periods of extreme rage, mood swings and depression that can last for a few months to a period that covers many years.

Reason For Menopausal Panic Attacks

While it may be unclear as to the exact cause of a woman’s panic attack or disorder, it has been found that women are twice as likely to suffer from panic disorder as men, most notably during PMS, pregnancy and menopause. Hormones have been identified as the one common underlying cause in all of these cases. In addition, women entering menopause who are already living a stressful lifestyle or who are going through a particularly emotional life event are left even more susceptible to developing a panic disorder.

Panic Attack Symptoms During Menopause

Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder described as unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear which includes chest pain, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, dizziness, heavy sweating, or gastrointestinal distress. During menopause the development of a panic disorder is often extremely debilitating when fluctuating hormone levels play havoc with a woman’s psychological and physiological state of health. Initial panic episodes often lead a woman to seek emergency medical care thinking that she is having a heart attack.

Treatment for Menopausal Panic Attacks

There is hope and relief from the many symptoms of menopausal panic attacks. An experienced psychiatrist with a history of successful treatment for women who develop mental health issues during menopause, has a wide variety of treatment options to fit one’s individual needs.  Following a comprehensive evaluation, medication may be part of the answer during the time of menopause with its hormone fluctuations.

Medications prescribed may include Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, Librium, Zoloft, Elavil, Tofranil, Lexapro, Sinequan and many others. Atlanta menopausal panic disorder psychiatrist Dr. Darvin Hege may prescribe medications and may also suggest cognitive behavioral therapy or other adjunct therapies if your anxiety and fears feel insurmountable to you.

Atlanta Menopausal Panic Attack Psychiatrist

If you are in the beginning, middle or end phases of menopause and are experiencing anxiety, panic attacks or mood swings, make the call to Dr. Darvin Hege, an Atlanta menopausal panic attack psychiatrist and get your life back in balance again.