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Can menopause cause panic disorder?

+1 vote
I am going through menopause, and I have the usual symptoms of hot flashes, sweating, and mood swings. However, I am also having other symptoms when I get the hot flashes, like shortness of breath, pounding chest, rapid heart beat, and these last for a few minutes. Can these be panic attacks, and can I have panic disorder triggered by the menopause? I never had these symptoms before starting menopause at age 44.
asked Sep 12, 2015 in Panic Attacks / Disorder by anonymous

1 Answer

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Best answer

There is a strong link between menopause and anxiety- click here to find out more on this association. So if you never had panic attacks before starting menopause, then it is most likely linked to your menopause symptoms. Remember, in menopause, you are constantly hot, as you have a heat intolerance. So when you are having these hot flashes and heat intolerance, you may find that you start to breathe more rapidly. Soon, you may find yourself hyperventilating and then your heart starts to beat faster. Then your chest pounds and you find yourself short of breath as you are breathing too rapidly to take in deep breaths of oxygen. So what feels like a panic attack are really symptoms that develop from your menopause symptoms of hot flashes and heat intolerance.

So how to you treat panic attacks in association with menopause? There are several options for treatment, which include hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with estrogen and progesterone. The problem with HRT is that although it addresses your menopause symptoms, when you discontinue the HRT in the future, you will get the menopause symptoms again. So the HRT just delays when you experience the menopause symptoms. Other options for treatment of panic attacks in menopause include treatment with SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) or SNRIs (serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors). A non-pharmacological treatment option is CBT, or cognitive behavioral therapy.

answered Sep 20, 2015 by drcarlo (295,840 points)