Mindfulness and psychotherapy can lift menopausal depression, according to existing research.
Menopause is a transition that naturally happens in a woman’s life, which marks the end of her menstrual cycle. However, it is often has symptoms like poor sleep, hot flashes, and even depression.
There are a various pharmaceutical products that can treat* these symptoms, but there are a lot of women who wants an alternative to this type of treatment.
Existing research shows that psychotherapy and mindfulness techniques can help alleviate women from depression during menopause.
There are only a few studies that looked into the good effects of cognitive therapy to treating menopausal depression. But these limited studies show strong positive results.
Side Effects Linked to Hormonal Treatments
According to the study’s lead author, Sheryl Green, is shocked by the lack of alternative, non-hormonal, non-pharmaceutical treatment for menopausal symptoms, especially considering the side effects associated to pharmaceutical anti-depressants.
Depression is caused by the fluctuations in hormones like estrogen. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is one of the most popular drastic treatments for this imbalance. However, a lot of professionals don’t suggest this solution, because it is linked to breast and ovarian cancer, heart diseases, and blood clots.
Green, who is a clinical psychologist in the women’s Health Concerns Clinic at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, Ontario, said there are not many studies that focus on how the cognitive approach could help patients treat* their menopausal depression.
Mindfulness Techniques Help Patients Deal With Stress
Cognitive-behavioural therapy can make patients lead more productive lives by changing the way they think and feel. It aims to modify actions to prevent self-destructive behaviour. Mindfulness meditation gives patients enough self-control to deal with stress.
There are various approaches concerning cognitive-behavioural therapy, including rational emotive therapy, rational living therapy, rational behaviour therapy, dialectic behaviour therapy, and cognitive therapy.
This technique has several characteristics that make it a very effective treatment for depression. It is based on the idea that thoughts cause an individual’s feelings and behaviours, and not external factors. Cognitive-behavioural therapy is the most rapid therapy when it comes to getting results.
Existing Study Shows Proof of Cognitive-behavioural Therapy Effectively
Green and her colleagues collected over 5,000 studies and found out that only two of them looked into cognitive-behavioural therapy, and mindfulness techniques on women suffering from menopausal depression. But these studies show strong proof that cognitive-behavioural therapy indeed improved* the condition of women suffering from menopausal depression.
One of the study shows that 50 per cent of the 169 menopausal women who went through 16 individual therapy sessions were less depressed, while 25 were completely alleviated from their depression.
The same results were drawn from the second study with 44 participants who became less depressed after going through 16 sessions of a two-hour group therapy held twice a week.
Green’s Team Took the Research A Step Further
Green’s team broadened their search on Cognitive-behavioural therapy in 2014. They looked into depression and 12 other menopausal symptoms.
The studies they found show that women become less depressed after therapy. This therapy involved coping skills, education, and muscle relaxation.
The study that focused on hot flashes and mood found that mindfulness-based stress reduction* techniques and diaphragmatic breathing can alleviate patients from depression.
However, Green also found that there is no singular therapy that could cure* all. There are different types of therapy that would work appropriately to the various physical conditions of menopausal women.
Limited Study on Cognitive and Mindfulness Therapy
Some of the studies are small scaled, did not follow-through, and did not have comparison groups.
Green said – cognitive-behavioural therapy has received high acceptability and support for over 30 years, even though studies on this topic are still in its basic levels.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy’s low-risk nature makes this technique highly recommended for women who suffer menopausal symptoms.
The North American Menopause Society’s Dr. Pauline Maki praised the team for conducting a study on alternatives treatments for women suffering from menopausal depression.
Maki, who is also the Women’s Mental Health Research director at the University of Illinois, said brain scan studies prove that cognitive approaches to lift depressed mood.
Maki also suggested that awareness about mood disorder among menopausal women should be promoted.
The more this is discussed in public, the fewer stigmas there will be, and the easier it will be for women to seek help, said Maki.