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Depression and PMS: What is the connection? — an article on the Smart Living Network
January 29, 2008 at 1:16 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Depression and PMS: What is the connection?


Depression is one of the many symptoms of PMS that you may experience in the two weeks before your period starts. The major difference between depression experienced during your period and clinical depression is that PMS related depression goes away after your period starts. Clinical depression stays all month and beyond.

Emotional and behavioral symptoms of PMS

You probably experience some of these symptoms during your monthly cycle:
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Irritability and anger
  • Anxiety and tension
  • A change in appetite, food cravings
  • Feeling withdrawn
  • An inability to sleep
  • An inability to concentrate

How to alleviate the emotional symptoms of PMS

Getting moderate exercise has been shown to reduce depression and other PMS symptoms. Shoot for 30 minutes, 4 or 5 times each week. Take your vitamins, and be sure to get enough calcium. Eat a balanced diet, full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and good fats. Sometimes cutting back on caffeine, chocolate and salt can help.

Symptoms of clinical depression

When you feel depressed, you feel helpless and hopeless. It is hard to complete daily tasks, and social interaction is a chore. You have no interest in activities that you once enjoyed. Some other symptoms of depression are:
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Can't sleep
  • Appetite loss
  • Severe nervousness
Feeling like your situation is hopeless and no one can help you is a common symptom of depression. But you can get help. Your doctor can work with you to find the right combination of medication and counseling to help you get better. Some women have relieved their symptoms with herbal remedies like St. John's Wort. But it is important to get help from a trained medical professional as well.

Who gets depressed?

Women are a lot more likely to get depressed than men. In fact, twice as many women will experience depression at some point in their lives. Part of the reason for this may be biological and hormonal. Before puberty, similar numbers of girls and boys develop depression. But after puberty, and continuing into adulthood, girls and women are almost twice as likely to develop depression. And after menopause the gap, again, disappears. So a woman's hormones can increase the likelihood of depression, but it is not the only factor. Obviously, some women become depressed while others do not. Developing depression has social and psychological factors as well.

Cultural, social and psychological factors of depression

The social, cultural and psychological issues that are unique to women may contribute to their rate of depression by causing feelings of hopelessness, negativity and low self esteem. Generally, American women do not have as much money or power as American men. They earn less money than men do in the same job. Women are more likely to be a single parent, and single mothers as a group have a very high rate of poverty. In addition, minority women may have added stress from racial discrimination. Many women hold jobs outside of the home and still manage most of the domestic duties at home. They are also more likely to care for their own children and elderly parents at the same time. Women who were physically or sexually abused are more likely to develop depression at some point in their lives. If you have clinical depression, please get help. Depression and feelings of hopelessness are not something you have to live with. Tell your doctor so you can begin treatment.

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