Usually it is a chemical in the brain causing anxiety and not hormones, but...
Some women are more sensitive to hormonal fluctuations than others. For many women, anxiety issues appear for the first time during periods of hormonal change. For other women, hormonal changes intensify previously existing anxiety symptoms.
Anxiety is one of the most common symptoms of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS), post-childbirth, and perimenopause (the period of time before the onset of menopause). It may take the form of panic attacks, nervousness, sweating, intense fear, anxiety combined with depression, or other overwhelming symptoms.
Here are several periods of hormonal change that can intensify or trigger anxiety in women.
Puberty -- Developing girls experience hormonal changes as they prepare to begin their reproductive years.
Monthly menstrual cycle -- Often girls and women experience PMS the week before their period.
Following childbirth -- The severe drop in certain hormones following childbirth can cause dramatic physical symptoms and a temporary feeling of depression or anxiety; in some women, it is prolonged.
Perimenopause -- Perimenopause is the period of time when the body is approaching menopause. It may last from two to ten years. During this time the menstrual cycle becomes irregular as the hormone levels keep fluctuating, causing some women to experience PMS-like symptoms.
Although many of us may use the term "going through menopause" to describe this period of time, it is actually called perimenopause. Many women experience panic attacks for the first time during perimenopause. Other symptoms such as insomnia, hot flashes, rapid heartbeat, and sweating are also common.
With surgical menopause (hysterectomy), you'll likely experience perimenopausal symptoms after the surgery, even if you did not experience symptoms prior to surgery. Symptoms can be prolonged and are due to the dramatic and sudden decrease of certain hormones as a result of the hysterectomy.
In non-surgical circumstances, menopause occurs after a woman has no periods for twelve consecutive months. It lasts only one day. Many women report feeling better than ever mentally and physically after menopause, due to the fact that hormone levels stabilize.
Hormonal Change Triggers the Fight Or Flight Response
Due to the fact that hormonal change causes physical and psychological stress, it triggers our "fight or flight" response. The fight or flight response is the body's inborn, self-protective response to perceived danger.
When we perceive that we are under stress, our bodies send out a rush of cortisol, adrenaline, and other brain chemicals to prepare us to "fight" or "flee" the danger.
The fight or flight response triggers the physiological changes that we associate with anxiety, such as rapid heartbeat, increased blood pressure, sweating, muscle tension, narrowed mental focus, heightened emotion, and many other symptoms.
These are the same physical sensations that many women experience when their hormone levels fluctuate. In other words, most of the symptoms women experience during times of hormonal change are really fight or flight reactions. While these physical sensations are not dangerous, they can be very intense and overwhelming.
Our fight or flight response mechanism can become "hypersensitive" with the various hormonal changes in our bodies that take place from puberty to menopause. Many of us are in a constant state of stress due to our lifestyle and thought patterns, which also causes hypersensitivity.
In other words, our bodies may be stuck in the "on" switch of fight or flight. What normally wouldn't trigger symptoms, now initiates symptoms and perpetuates an ongoing cycle.
Fight or flight reactions in and of themselves are harmless. However, when our thoughts convince our rational minds that these symptoms are scary and dangerous, we create an anxiety cycle.
Anxiety consists of more than fight or flight reactions acting by themselves. Unproductive thoughts play a critical role in creating and perpetuating the anxiety we experience.
Our thoughts convert fight or flight reactions into anxiety, and a self-perpetuating cycle begins. Soon we find ourselves limiting our behaviors because of anxiety as well, which further entrenches the vicious cycle.
When a person is under stress, unresolved emotions and issues commonly come to the forefront. Because hormonal change is a major stressor, it can bring up internal conflicts and self-doubt in many areas of our lives. All of a sudden, we may find that the negative self-talk that we successfully pushed to the background of our lives during less stressful times is now playing center stage.
During periods of hormonal change, we may also feel uncertain about our changing roles (e.g. maturing from girl to woman, becoming a mother, becoming a mature woman past childbearing years), which can add to our internal conflict.
When we fail to successfully resolve internal conflicts and the unhelpful thought patterns that contribute to them, we create a breeding ground for anxiety. Combined with fight or flight symptoms, it's no wonder that these unproductive thoughts create and perpetuate the anxiety cycle!
What can you do if hormone-related anxiety affects you?
Here's some great news! The same tools that you can use to overcome anxiety due to other reasons can help you to conquer anxiety related to hormonal changes too.
Research shows that cognitive-behavioral techniques that help you change unhelpful thoughts and behaviors, lifestyle changes, relaxation techniques, and nutritional strategies (all found in our Conquer Anxiety Success Program) can help women dealing with hormonal changes.
These types of strategies not only help women regain a sense of control over their lives, but actually achieve improved physical and emotional well being! Here are a few tips to get you started:
-- Focus on reducing preventable stress in your life that triggers the fight or flight response -- stop the yo-yo dieting; increase sleep to eight or nine hours a night; exercise regularly; don't skip meals; cut back on your frantic schedule; and decrease stimulants, such as caffeine.
The body isn't designed for constant stress. When we are bombarded with stress, our ability to cope can become overwhelmed because the elevation in stress hormones makes the fight or flight switch remain "on."
-- Learn how to train your body to respond differently to stress so that you can automatically turn the false alarm "off" when the fight or flight response is triggered. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, yoga, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation can help you achieve this goal.
-- Most importantly, learn how to change how you think. Our thoughts are what convert the harmless fight or flight response into a vicious cycle of anxiety. Remember, just as our thoughts hold the key to creating anxiety, they also hold the key to eliminating it!
hormones are strange things,they can make us feel alsorts of things tired,tears,sickness dizzy,and they are all similar signs to anxiety,anxiety is a phsical thing which is fueled by ourselves just to make matters worse,ask your doctor to check your hormone levels,at least you will know either why good luck
Yes,if you have thyroid problem it defenitely cause palpitations and other more symptoms.
I recently just had a thyroid test done and actually got the results back on Monday,mine was off a lil so they are gonna wait and see if its reallythe start of thyroid problems or just my birthcontrol because I have stopped mypill for a few sdays here and there and started taking them again then stopped, So yes to answer your question which was a question I asked my Dr she said that if your thyroid is off itcan cause your body to go all out ofwhack, it can cause anxiety, I will go back in 2 months to get checked again..
Thank you..all this helps me..i have had my thyroid checked not so long ago and it was fine..i was diagnosed with svt 8 years ago but had an operation to fix it last year but i still get alot off skipped beats so not sure if this is causing my anxiety.i will go to the doctors and get my hormones checked.
My father is a very stressful person, he shakes alot and very nervy is this why i am the way i am.
You state: 'menopause occurs after a woman has no periods for twelve consecutive months.'
Are you a gynecologist? Because I do not think you fully understand a woman's cycle; from start to end. The birth control injectable DepoProvera will cause a woman of child-bearing age to cease having menstrual cycles approximately one year after beginning this medication. This is not true menopause, but rather what they call in the industry a 'head fake.'
If anyone would like me to state a specific case history contradicting your statement listed above, I'd be more than happy to do so, most especially for the women who need to fully understand what is happening to their bodies.
This was gotten from an article, the attribution, WHICH I had put on the last line, but for some reason did not show... here it is again. I hope this helps you. Godspeed
Deanne Repich - About the Author:
Deanne Repich, founder and director of the National Institute of Anxiety and Stress, Inc., is an internationally known anxiety educator, teacher, author, and former sufferer. Tens of thousands of anxiety sufferers have sought her expertise to help them reclaim their lives from anxiety, stress, anxiety disorders, panic attacks, anxiety attacks and social anxiety. She is the creator of the Conquer Anxiety Success Program, author of more than seventy-five articles, and publishes the Anxiety-Free Living printed Newsletter for anxiety sufferers. To learn more about anxietyand to immediately download her free e-book Anxiety Tips: Seven Keys to Overcoming Anxiety, visit http://www.ConquerAnxiety.com.
Oh wow! Bet you never guessed you'd get this much information from one small post..LOL.
I am no expert, but as a woman who once stopped her periods for 5 yrs because as a catholic woman she feared pregnancy when she had two children who took all her energy...I can tell you that your mind can do amazing things.
I never had anxiety after my four children were born. After being told I might die if I had another child, and that I had large fibroid tumors, had a hysterectomy. I was 31 yrs old.
No hot flashes. No anxiety. Just relief that I could concentrate on my four children, without the constant fear of pregnancy.
When I was first hospitalized with depression/anxiety, I was 42, divorced, two years into college. When hormones were once again brought up by people with no understanding of mental disorders, my doctor said I was not admitted to hospital because of a hormone problem. I only add my story to the mix as it was clear my mind which was resisting another pregnancy (I had to undergo hormone treatment after every pregnancy to get me going again) was powerful enough to stop a natural function when I was perfectly healthy.
Good luck. Take it easy.
Deanne Repich states the following credentials:
Founder and director of the National Institute of Anxiety and Stress, Inc., an internationally known anxiety educator, teacher, author, and former sufferer.
Where is the degree? IMO, that makes her no different than a wannabe Dr. Phil who is utilizing the internet to make money based solely on opinion and not fact. Those types of opinions hold no weight with me.
I find validity and fact contained in medical literature when composed by a college educated, diploma-earned individual.
IOW: 5 simple small words: don't believe everything you read. In this vast ever-changing age of information technology, we need to be proactive in every regard -- most particularly regarding our own health care. The 'system' is runneth over; at least in this region of our little blue planet.
Lastly, in this wise age of IT, I find it difficult to believe that the moderators would intentionally omit a publication reference/web addy link. It's unethical, as well as plagiary.