The title of this article is not meant to imply that women suffer from panic or anxiety attacks more than men, nor that they have a particular weakness for them. The fact is, hormones effect both men and women, but menopause is particularly hard on a woman’s identity and her hormonal system, just as some men struggle with mid-life changes. For this reason, menopause contributes to the signs of panic attack in women who are prone to it.
Menopause is a time when many women experience anxiety and panic, even though a panic attack symptom has never been part of their experience. The dramatic shift in the body and mind during some menopausal experiences can result in strong reactions that are quite intimidating, especially if a panic attack is mistaken for a heart attack.
Younger women, experiencing menopause, tend to go through anxiety and panic attacks more often than older women. There is evidence to suggest this has more to do with western expectations and norms than with pure physiological effects, since younger menopausal women in other parts of the world tend to experience these problems much less.
Social pressure, media images, hormonal changes, external factors, and physical pressures all contribute to the stress women face during menopause. There is little to link an anxiety or panic attack cycle to specific activities, as they can unfold during a church event, while driving, while getting groceries or during a social event. The time they last is as brief as a couple of minutes to hours.
The notion that these problems come from the mind and the hormone system together, has led to effective hypnotherapy techniques, relaxation therapies and cognitive behavioural counseling. For those facing the struggles associated with the above panic disorders, it is good to know that there are solutions that work.
The good news is that menopause does not present a problem for dealing with panic or anxiety disorders. The same methods can often work in these cases as work for people who face panic symptoms for other reasons.