A middle-aged woman came to the clinic with her husband recently.
The husband requested to be seen first to tell the whole story prior to her examination.
He explains of how the family has been going through long and difficult times because his wife has been on depression for nearly two years, and regardless of numerous hospital visits and various medication, there has not been any noticeable improvements. I was able to feel the family’s deep affection toward the patient after consulting with the patient’s family.
During the first encounter with the patient, she was already worn down and answered questions out of courtesy. She was not able to continue on with the conversation. I gave the patient enough time to talk about herself and comfortably led the conversation. Soon, the patient was able to open up as she became more energetic.
The patient suffered alone because she did not know why she was going through sadness, loss of motivation, fatigue, and decline of memory during menopause. She explained that sudden chest tightness and insomnia caused her to lose the motivation to live, and severe depression has affected her lifestyle.
The symptoms started to improve as the patient received periodical acupuncture treatment and herbal medicine that balanced her hormone levels.
According to the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service, 53.5% of members are populated by women in their forty’s. By gender, female members increased 2.2 times more than men every year.
Likewise, women going through pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause are more susceptible to depression because of hormonal changes. Women cannot express their emotions openly because of Korean culture where endurance is considered a virtue, thus progressing to depression.
The order of menopausal depression starts when Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) sharply decreases, and this decline increases the danger of coronary artery diseases and activates stress hormones in the brain. This change in the endocrine system damages the nerve cells distributed around the frontal lobe and basal ganglia of the brain, thus inducing depression and memory loss.
Therefore, do not neglect menopausal depression as a simple psychological problem of grief, but make sure to receive systematic treatment through consultation with a specialist.
In Korean medicine, the treatment increases female hormone secretion and help the body to naturally adjust to hormonal changes. Acupuncture treatment and medicinal therapy focus on relieving stagnated Qi and vitalizing the body for autonomic nerve recovery.
Rather than trying to solve depression on your own, adjusting to regular lifestyle and having leisure through active treatment are very important.
Avoid alcohol or overdose of drugs to evade feeling or misery, but rather change to muscle training to prevent osteoporosis and to cardio exercises such as walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, and etc. Staying hydrated by eating fresh vegetables and fruits, and drinking water are necessary.
The family must recognize menopause as an illness that brings in many difficulties, and the spouse and children must understand and actively support to bring about positive energy in order to overcome it.
Published by KoreaTimes under <Health Column> on November 11, 2014.