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  • Does anyone have any advice for someone with hormonal anxiety/depression?

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    Old 05-16-2008, 02:57 PM   #1
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    Unhappy Does anyone have any advice for someone with hormonal anxiety/depression?

    Over the past year I have gradually started experiencing more and more severe PMS. When I actually start my period, I FREAK OUT and have terrible anxiety and depression for a week or so. It's taken a while for me to figure out the pattern with this, as I first thought that maybe I was having all of those feelings because of things going on in my life. Then I realized that once my period is officially over, I feel normal and calm again.

    Does anyone have any idea how to treat this without medication? Also, has anyone experienced this for a few months but found it gradually went away? I'm only 22 so I'm hoping that it will go away - I wasn't like this until the past few months and it came on gradually.

    By the way, I am not on hormonal birth control - I tried two different brands (generic Yaz and generic Alesse) a few months ago and it made me feel WAY worse throughout the entire month. (Not just when I was on my period.)

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    Old 05-16-2008, 09:57 PM   #2
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    Re: Does anyone have any advice for someone with hormonal anxiety/depression?

    I don't know if I'll be able to help or not, but I'll share with you my struggle.

    I think I've always had some type of hormonal anxiety or blues during the PMS phase. I didn't really understand anxiety until a couple years ago and the feelings of losing control and fear became extreme. There were a few traumatic things that had happened to me....2 wk old daughter on life support (she's a very healthy 5 1/2 yr old now) and loss of a friend. Somehow the emotional strain these events took on me turned my perception of anxiety into a real monster. I also had an allergic reaction to Paxil CR that induced a panic attack and it was horrible. This left me with a new sensation that I had never known and it became my new perception of normal anxiety. So, my normal feelings changed. It was very difficult to overcome and it took lots of time, prayer, and patience. I still have problems especially when I'm ovulating. Last week I thought I might just lose my mind and do something horrible like run through the streets butt naked. So, even though I've learned how to deal with my anxiety I still have these feelings that need to be dealt with. In the beginning, I had a small prescription of Ativan. It did help me get through attacks...especially ones where my heart rate would go up significantly. I haven't had to rely on these for almost 2 years, but I still take comfort knowing I have some in case I need them. Guess they're like my crutch. I was determined though to be able to learn how to deal with this without medication. So, I learned how to distract myself. I started singing (to myself) a chorus of a particular song or two over an over. I also had to try to retrain my thought pattern from fear to something positive. Can be quite exhausting trying to actively think yourself through these times. I also learned that the anxiety really couldn't hurt me. I know that I'm not going to lose control and run through the streets butt naked. I've never passed out or been out of control. You have to learn this is only a feeling and you have to find a way to control your mind and your thoughts to overcome it. These days my problem is mostly related to my hormone cycle.
    I just remember that: 1. The anxiety is normal and won't hurt me. 2. Find some way to relax (I always look forward to drinking a cup of decaf coffee, tea, or glass of wine at night and read a book). 3. Remember to distract my fearful/negative thoughts by using song or prayer. 4. Knowing it will be over in a few days and I'll feel better. For me taking control of these feelings, while they still occur, has been my victory.
    My doctor suggested exercising hard enough to sweat for an hour a day and having lots of sex. Well, I don't do either enough (poor husband). I will say that they both help. Would not suggest the sex unless you're in a monogamous relationship. Also diet makes a huge difference for me. My PMS symptoms are so much better when I limit my carbs and sugar intake. I don't have painful breasts, mood swings, anxiety, or swelling. If I eat more protein, increase my saturated fat (healthy forms), and vegetables things are much better.
    You may also want to try to boost your vitamins. Extra Magnesium is supposed to be very beneficial for anxiety. Also Omega 3 with DHA??? And vitamin D. I would recommend you research what forms of these to take as I can't quite remember myself. I think the Magnesium should be in a combo pill with some form of Calcium. I haven't done the supplement regime but my sister has and she says it's helped her (she the worst anxiety person I know).

    I hope I made some sense. I hope you find some peace for these times.

    Old 05-17-2008, 01:48 AM   #3
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    Re: Does anyone have any advice for someone with hormonal anxiety/depression?

    I have also suffered from severe PMS, i don't know why it came on but it got so bad my husband basically said get it sorted or i'm leaving and quite honestly i don't blame him. I went to the doctors hoping for some insight and was practically laughed at. There are no meds for PMS, she suggested 1000mg Evening Primrose oil capsules and vit B i think (was a few years ago now!).

    Shortly after I found out i was pregnant which must have brought everything to boiling point but i know i had suffered for such a long time before that. Every time of the month i would just feel sooooo ANGRY for no reason and be such a b***h and i really couldn't help it. My husband would ask if i was due on, and he was always right. After a few days of anger it would turn to depression and i would just sit and cry, every month there was a rollercoaster of emotions!! The rest of the month i was absolutely fine!

    I took the capsules for a few weeks but stopped when i realised i was pregnant so i don't know if they were any good but my mum swears by them. Thankfully since having little 'un (2 1/2 years ago) it hasn't come back. I did suffer post natal depression but i think that was more circumstance than hormones. It helps if you take them daily but its not a med to HAVE to take to feel normal and it may take a while to get in your system but it should help with other things like sore nipples or heavy painful period type stuff.

    Last edited by smokey22; 05-17-2008 at 02:06 AM.

    Old 05-17-2008, 09:23 AM   #4
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    Re: Does anyone have any advice for someone with hormonal anxiety/depression?


    My symptoms are alot like yours. I too, start my most severe symptoms at the onset of my period, rather than weeks before (anxiety, depression, etc).

    I told my naturopathic doctor about this and she said it sounded alot like an imbalance of my estrogen and progesterone levels (too much estrogen, not enough progesterone). She started me on evening primrose oil (EPO) 1 capsule daily from days fifteen of my cycle through the first day of my period as well as an herbal supplement called phytoprogest. She also has me eating 2-3 tablespoons of ground flax seeds daily (flax seeds contain phytoestrogens which help maintain proper estrogen levels in the body).

    I cannot tell you how much these things have helped me. My anxiety and depression have GREATLY diminished and my quality of life is just better. Also, my cramps have greatly diminished in severity! I know I am more pleasant to be around, and for really the first time since I started getting my period (im 19 now), I feel comfortable in my own skin.

    Good Luck!


    Old 05-17-2008, 04:13 PM   #5
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    Re: Does anyone have any advice for someone with hormonal anxiety/depression?

    Thanks for all of the tips - and I'm so glad I'm not alone in this. What's been difficult for me is that feeling depressed isn't something I'd experienced before, despite that I've had to cope with generalized anxiety for most of my life. It led me to feel like I was unhappy for reasons that weren't actually problems, and I have at times questioned everything from my judgment to what I'm doing with my life. It's also hard to get my boyfriend to understand what I'm dealing with, as he doesn't really 'get it'... in a way he thinks that I can just think differently and that will change it, despite that it's a chemical issue not an attitude problem. (Now that I mention it, has anyone had problems with getting a spouse/partner to understand what you're going through?)

    I think I'm going to try some natural methods to see if things improve, and if they don't I'm going to consider cognitive behavioral therapy. I've been on Lexapro for anxiety before and it worked well, but because this is a hormonal issue rather than just generalized anxiety I'd like to try a different treatment method this time.

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