They call it “The Change” and that somewhat undersells the gravity of it. More technically speaking it is called menopause. You may find yourself asking if you need to consult a psychotherapist during menopause. It is indeed a life change and a rather big one that women face during their middle age years. There are physical, mental, and emotional changes that occur during this process. All of it can be upsetting and even overwhelming. Many women find that they need support during this time. Learn all about the changes you may face and how a therapist can support you through them:
Menopause is primarily considered a physical change brought about by a shift in hormones. Production of a key hormone, Estrogen, declines. This results in menstrual changes. Most women will experience irregular menstruation for some time, followed eventually by menstruation ceasing all together.
Simultaneously, many women experience hot flashes (a sudden rise in body temperature), difficulty sleeping such as insomnia, and weight gain. These physical changes can be challenging and difficult to adjust to. Many women seek medical intervention to alleviate these physical symptoms.
Perhaps less talked about are the mental changes that also tend to occur during menopause. Some of these are the result of the hormonal fluctuations which seem to affect a woman’s general physical and mental functioning. The poor sleep associated with menopause can also contribute to these changes.
The mental changes can include decreased abilities to concentrate and focus. Along with this, many women report declines in memory, which may themselves be a result of poorer concentration. Women, especially high-achieving women and those with busy schedules, may find these changes distressing.
Equally distressing for many women are the emotional changes that occur during menopause. Many women find themselves simply feeling more emotional than they typically would be and also find that they are more easily upset. Some women even experience significant levels of anxiety and depression.
Again, the hormonal changes of menopause are the primary culprit and cause of the emotional changes. Additionally, some of those emotional reactions are also a product of the repercussions of menopause. For many women this is a clear sign of their aging and it means they are no longer able to have children.
Along with these main three areas of change, many women also notice a downshift in sexual drive. This is a result of the hormonal, physical, and emotional changes of menopause. However, this too can affect women emotionally, as it may affect their relationship with their spouse or romantic partner.
More broadly, women may experience some sense of social change, not just because of menopause and its effects on relationships but also because this time of life may mean other changes are happening too. For example, this is often a time when adult children are leaving home or moving into their own lives.
As you can see, menopause brings with it many changes that can sometimes be difficult to process. For this reason, many women seek the support of a therapist. Counseling is not always just for mental health problems. It can be helpful to anyone who is adjusting to some new situation or status in life.
A trained and skilled counselor can help a woman adjust to the physical, mental, emotional, and social changes that occur during menopause. In some cases, couples counseling may also be helpful during this time.
If you are considering counseling for menopause, contact Licensed Clinical Social Worker Laurie Sloan at 212-413-7088 to schedule an appointment. With over 30 years of experience in the field, Laurie specializes in working with women of all ages to help them better cope with life changes and challenges.