Menopause and Schizophrenia An Association

 

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Menopausal schizophrenia is more common than many people might realize. Though it’s vastly understudied, there is strong evidence of a possible hormonal connection. And to make matters worse, hot flashes and sleep deprivation during the menopausal transition can, in some cases, make mental illness worse. That’s a scary and troubling thought.

Did you know that the menopause can trigger schizophrenia? Yes, it turns out that not only has Mother Nature contrived to make it possible for us to drown in our own sweat, lose our memories, hair and sex appeal, but our falling oestrogen levels can also drive us mad!While schizophrenia typically has its onset in young adulthood, there is a second peak in women around menopause.

Researchers have suggested that falling estrogen levels may modulate certain brain neurotransmitters, this may lead to an increase in symptoms of schizophrenia during this hormonal transition. Schizophrenia strikes women most often in their 20s, but the disease can also occur around perimenopause, when hormones become erratic, and in those who have an underlying predisposition for the. While schizophrenia typically has its onset in young adulthood, there is a second peak in women around menopause. Researchers have suggested that falling estrogen levels may modulate certain brain neurotransmitters, this may lead to an increase in symptoms of schizophrenia during this hormonal transition. While the causes of schizophrenia are a complex mix of genes, your early development and stress, some women develop schizophrenia for the first time after menopause.

As a result, perimenopause may lead to an enhanced risk of first onset of schizophrenic psychoses or ‘late-onset schizophrenia’. Women with pre-existing chronic schizophreniatend to. Approaching middle age often brings increased stress, anxiety, and fear.

This can partially be attributed to physical changes, such as decreasing levels of estrogen and progesterone. Hot flashes. The onset of schizophrenia typical begins during adolescence or early adulthood, but it starts at different ages for men and women. Learn more about the early signs of schizophrenia onset at WebMD.

Women with schizophrenia entering menopause There is a hypothesis that endogenous (growing or originating from within an organism) estrogen may have a protective effect against schizophrenia. This has to do with the difference in when men and women experience peak onset. In men, the age of schizophrenia onset peaks between ages 15-25 years.

List of related literature:

One client, who was seen a few years ago and who had vegetative symptoms of chronic clinical depression, described her mother (who died from drowning) as having been diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder and alcoholism but as probably also suffering from schizophrenia.

“Chronic Sorrow: A Living Loss” by Susan Roos
from Chronic Sorrow: A Living Loss
by Susan Roos
Brunner-Routledge, 2002

For example, the elderly man with chronic schizophrenia and a long history of delusions and hallucinations, maintained for many years on neuroleptic medication, may in fact have bipolar disorder.

“Psychiatry for Medical Students” by Robert J. Waldinger
from Psychiatry for Medical Students
by Robert J. Waldinger
American Psychiatric Press, 1997

Family history was positive for schizophrenia in her brother and maternal aunt.

“Psychiatry” by Allan Tasman, Jerald Kay, Jeffrey A. Lieberman, Michael B. First, Mario Maj
from Psychiatry
by Allan Tasman, Jerald Kay, et. al.
Wiley, 2011

Audrey has no family history of schizophrenia; however, several family members have been treated for depression.

“Living with Chronic Illness and Disability EBook: Principles for Nursing Practice” by Esther Chang, Amanda Johnson
from Living with Chronic Illness and Disability EBook: Principles for Nursing Practice
by Esther Chang, Amanda Johnson
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2017

Depending on how long these symptoms have been occurring and how much they have affected her functioning, the presumptive diagnosis of schizophrenia could be confirmed.

“Study Guide to DSM-5®” by Laura Weiss Roberts, Alan K. Louie
from Study Guide to DSM-5®
by Laura Weiss Roberts, Alan K. Louie
American Psychiatric Publishing, 2014

Vulnerability to either schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder is not affected by being pregnant or in the postpartum period, although symptoms may be under slightly better control in pregnancy.

“Creasy and Resnik's Maternal-Fetal Medicine: Principles and Practice” by Robert Resnik, MD, Robert K. Creasy, MD, Jay D. Iams, MD, Charles J. Lockwood, MD, MHCM, Thomas Moore, MD, Michael F Greene, MD
from Creasy and Resnik’s Maternal-Fetal Medicine: Principles and Practice
by Robert Resnik, MD, Robert K. Creasy, MD, et. al.
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2013

Although once thought to cause psychosis (involutional melancholia), there is no evidence to suggest that psychiatric disorder is caused by the menopause.

“Cambridge Handbook of Psychology, Health and Medicine” by Andrew Baum, Stanton Newman, John Weinman, Robert West, Chris McManus
from Cambridge Handbook of Psychology, Health and Medicine
by Andrew Baum, Stanton Newman, et. al.
Cambridge University Press, 1997

The double-bind concept is now considered more pertinent to the maintenance than to the etiology of schizophrenia, which is understood to be a biologically based disorder that may be exacerbated by environmental stresses.

“Essential Psychotherapies, Third Edition: Theory and Practice” by Stanley B. Messer, Alan S. Gurman
from Essential Psychotherapies, Third Edition: Theory and Practice
by Stanley B. Messer, Alan S. Gurman
Guilford Publications, 2011

The effect of EE is not specific to schizophrenia, and also influences, for instance, the course of manic-depression, Alzheimer«s disease and diabetes.

“John Bowlby and Attachment Theory” by Jerry Holmes
from John Bowlby and Attachment Theory
by Jerry Holmes
Taylor & Francis, 2006

According to Endicott and colleagues, these findings suggest that, although bipolarity and psychosis often occur in the same individuals, they may not reflect the same genetic influence.

“Manic-Depressive Illness: Bipolar Disorders and Recurrent Depression” by Frederick K. Goodwin, Kay Redfield Jamison, S. Nassir Ghaemi
from Manic-Depressive Illness: Bipolar Disorders and Recurrent Depression
by Frederick K. Goodwin, Kay Redfield Jamison, S. Nassir Ghaemi
Oxford University Press, USA, 2007

Oktay Kutluk

Kutluk Oktay, MD, FACOG is one of the world's foremost experts in fertility preservation as well as ovarian stimulation and in vitro fertilization for infertility treatments. He developed and performed the world's first ovarian transplantation procedures as well as pioneered new ovarian stimulation protocols for embryo and oocyte freezing for breast and endometrial cancer patients.

Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: +1 (877) 492-3666

Biography: https://medicine.yale.edu/profile/kutluk_oktay/
Bibliography: oktay_bibliography

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35 comments

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  • This is funny. I was meno-naming events around me lately, too. Like today’s weather was totally a meno-weather, it just couldn’t decide what to do: raining, windy, calm, foggy, haling, sunny and then all over again. Just like us when we are “under weather”. My biggies are certainly a meno-deepression, meno-selfloss and meno-invisibility. Literally, people just bump on me sometimes, and I go “really, am I wearing an invisible hat?” And not that long ago they would stop to look at me and compliment. Ha-ha. I have managed the anxiety by stopping alcohol completely. I used to have such dreadful anxiety attacks, they were actually killing me as my heart would be jumping the rope in the mornings and often at nights too. Stopping alcohol in any form worked like a magic pill. Now, I am on a search for solutions to other items on my menopause management list, although it seems as you get to manage one, another comes creeping in. Luckily, seeing you on the screen helps me feel meno-found and meno-shining like never before. Today, while driving to my naturopath, I caught myself laughing full heartedly just remembering some of your episodes. Laughter is certainly one of the most affordable but priceless menopause medicine out there. It feels so liberating, instead of taking new wrinkles as a defeat, just laugh about them. I call them my New Year gifts now and keep saying that while I do not make any New Year resolutions myself, my face and body do, they come up with new lines and aches each January precisely and force me to go about their resolutions. Also, I asked my doctor to look you up, Barbie. By the way, we need to teach the Grammarly all these new meno-terms so that the spellcheck is not going crazy trying to underline and correct them all. Stay healthy and merry, all the menofriends out there!

  • Dr. Barbie…I am not sure where to send an actual “e-mail” to you, I have had you on my mind with the flooding in Houston.  I hope and an praying, you and your loved ones are safe!  xoxoxo

  • I cracked up when you put the big egg in the basket!! Yep. Husband newly retired and making me crazy.. oh lort, readers for the first time, parent and kid and fatigue.. you hit the nail on the head!

  • There should be a “National Menopause Day”. Just listening to what you’ve said in this video, women have a TON of variables to cope with in addition to going through Menopause. You touched on so many symptoms as well as the “sandwich” position we get plopped in…kids returning home in their 30’s because they can’t survive out there as well as having sick parents on both sides of the family. We deserve an award!!

  • definitely sandwich generation and stress nest……19 of these symptoms for me. I can recall my mom in this same boat, but unfortunately she never divulged this info to me until now when I asked her……it saddens me that we go through life and menopause kicks you in the rear when you are so not ready for it….we are long overdue for a “meno-revolution”….

  • Talking about stress: I am 56 and have a 19 year old son with health problems and a 12 year old club soccer playing son, so still taking care of everything and everybody..I also have a 80 year old mother who lives on her own in a different country whom I worry about….and, oh yeah, on top of all that, experiencing physical and psychological symptoms of menopause. Your videos help me to deal with all of this, so thank you from the bottom of my heart: )

  • Dr. Barbie, I am going through ALL the psychological symptoms you listed.

    Currently on a low dose estrogen patch (.390 mg of estradiol-178) every third day and 1 progesterone 100mg capsule per day. My psychological symptoms along with my physical symptoms (joint pain, bulging/herniated discs) are so bad that I am not able to work at this time. I was showing the symptoms physically, so my boss encouraged me to take time off to deal with these symptoms. I feel like I used to be physically attractive, but that is all falling apart right before my eyes…I am so scared I am going to lose my job. I am only 48! I don’t feel supported by my doctor as she just rolls her eyes at me. However she did put me on Citalopram, 10mg daily.
    Anxiety/depression are my worst symptoms. My biggest stressor is my financial debt.
    Currently seeking counselling but it is difficult to find one.
    I am single with no children, no friends, and I have never felt lonelier than I do now.
    I am sorry I am rambling. I just don’t know where to start.

  • This gives me a much better understanding of some of the woman in my life.I might never make the connection if I hadn’t watched this video my reality is very stressful and I run with and advocate for a community of survivalist out of necessity. I now know more women around my age then I ever would have met if my family hadn’t become unhoused I do have some of.these symptoms.but nothing I can’t tolerate and laugh at. Thank you for describing the severity of how far this can go for so many women I can now give my friends the patients and understanding they deserve when I think they’re just being crazy. People walk all over this extreme patients I’m blessed with I will seriously have to limit my time spent with others for my own sanity.and I’m ok with that.

  • Dear dr taylor,
    I am on a low dose of antidepressant ssri since about a year. I am not still in menopause. I am 50. I have a huge loss of libido. These ssri are super but…i don’t know if it is the medication or the imminent menopause. What you think in general of ssri in menopause.
    Thank you if you find the time to answer. I love your videos. Hope you will not stop.
    Thank you from italy

  • Or you could have two children at home ages 18 & 12 both boys at the age of 53 plus my husband now works from home help…. just kidding not that bad. Menopause is like being on a roller coaster can’t I can’t get off that coaster. I have had almost all symptoms listed on menopause sites. So glad you make these videos. Menodrowning feeling like your drowning and you can get out. Why do male doctors don’t understand menopause?

  • I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone ��I have no sex drive….Im dry like a desert….cry all the time go in on 5 years now! I just don’t no me anymore

  • I so needed this and the previous video. You helped me realize that this is manageable and that I have a lot going for me now despite my symptoms. Plus, I have you,! I am signing up for a consultation with you. Thank you for these videostruly you are saving me, one video at a time.

  • On stress… I’ve had remarkable relief from stress with Bach Flower Remedies. I was handling stress so bad that I had developed hand tremors which BFR corrected.

  • I can truly relate to this video. I suffer from anxiety attacks but this past month has been almost unmanageable. Last Monday I struggled with hyperventilating and feeling very anxious for 9 hours, with a brief break in the middle. I hadn’t had a period for 11 months and this month I had one for 2 weeks, albeit very light. I really want to take a combined patch of estrogen and progesterone, do you think this is appropriate as I’d had 11 months without a period? I know it’s time to try something, even a low dose will help I’m sure. I just sometimes feel so low and have a lack of interest and overwhelming dark thoughts and I don’t want to go worse. Please help! Thank you so much ��

  • Hi I’m a man, husband. I can’t stand her ��! I mentioned things to help, but she wants to eat my heart for lunch! Staying away and going through HELL, maybe psyological! God help me I know I’m not perfect but I have been married 20+

  • I have been looking forward to menopause because I had a terrible time during my menstrating years! Now that I am peri menopausal I didn’t expect to feel like this! Hot flashes to point where my heart is racing and I can’t breathe properly. Night sweats, brain fog, fatigue, weight gain, feeling insecure about my job, because I can’t seem to function at work. And no matter what I do it’s getting worse. I am going in with a positive attitude but I can’t get a handle on my symptoms.

  • I can’t thank you enough for this video. I feel like every symptom described here is something I’ve experienced in some shape or form. I find it so refreshing to hear you explaining menopause so freely. I feel understood. I wish more doctors were as open to discussing in the manner that you do.

  • Hey Dr Barbie, this video was very informative. In my case there are issues that have been bothering me for years. I’ve been suppressing the way I feel for years, seems now I just can’t lie to myself anymore. It seems going through menopause has brought a clarity, unfortunately I can’t do much to change my situation.

  • Excellent presentation!! Menofog and menomoody are just great:))) And, just to finish off this wonderfully nerdy question: egg comes first!:))) Egg laying chicken ancestors would confirm:)))))

  • You are the only person who makes me feel better. I can’t thank you enough for these videos. The education is priceless & your delivery is informative & entertaining. Blessings to you!!

  • Thank you so much Dr. Barbie for helping us menopausal women around the world. I’m writing to you from Asia. Though I’m making the effort to learn more about menopause through research & reading. But like many women around the globe, I’m overwhelmed & confused with the conflicting bits of data & menopausal scare tactics even from physicians & professionals. Just not helpful to us already stressed out women during this difficult transition period of our lives. I feel so happy to had discovered your channel here in the nick of time. Yes, I’m struggling to make sense & deal with some peri-menopausal symptoms. You’re really a kind lovely angel from the heavens! Love you too for your unique fashion sense & entertaining & simple methods to teach & guide us step by step us. ��������������

  • Oh the comment section is so different. Well we have to keep our chin up as we don’t have a choice. We will just march on together and thank God for youtube xx

  • Once again you have explained my condition to a tee. But I am peri menopausal why do I feel so bad already.? Is it because I have never had children? The thought of another 5 years of this, I might blow my brains out ( seriously no, only joking ) but on 2nd month of mini pill and still feel like I am going crazy, bleeding for the last 13 days, so the symptoms are getting worse each day, and it started off so well, I had at least 5 days when I was tripping the light fantastic. Sorry to hassle you, when you have already very kindly answered my other messages. You are the only person who can help me. My doctor is bored with seeing me now. When will the torture end? How can I keep a job if somedays I have moments when I forget who I am and where the hell I am? My mum thinks the menopause is just a few hot sweats and that’s it. Jesus! She don’t know the half of it. God bless you Barbie, sorry to go on. I am so frightened and fucked off with this. Xxxxxxx

  • A few years ago I read a book about menopause entitled “Female brain gone insane”. A very catchy title��. In all of this, just remember to breathe!

  • Thank you for this informative video, Dr Barbie. Could you recommend treatments for the psychological symptoms of menopause, like anxiety and depression. The Lord bless you.

  • This one hit home with me, and I’m certain, many other women. Because I’ve been post menopausal for over ten years, I think at some point I experienced at least half of these psychological symptoms! Oh, in hindsight, how I wish you had been here, however, I’m not looking back for long, I am moving forward, armed with my faith in The Lord, and you, dear Dr. Barbie….my faithful, tender hearted, wise beyond words, amazing advocate! Thank you for being so open concerning these serious issues, at times I teared up and nodded my head…..you are the best ever, and I love you! ❤️❤️❤️

  • Having taken care of my mother in my home until her passing (5 years)….I think the one scenario that wasn’t mentioned was parents of adult dependent children with special needs…..my mother would be the road rage aggressive fit throwing person

  • This is the 1st time I’m watching your video and wow Bravo! Its sooooo great!! I’ll keep watching it for now on, no sure what Meno category am I into now, hehee. Haven’t heard/seen you since PG. I’m glad you have this Menopause Taylor, and we get connected again. Tks Menopause Taylor for holding my hands towards this journey:)

  • Thank you for covering this underrated topic I do experience some of this and thank God I have much patients and I’m usually in a good mood regardless of whatever is happening in my life but these days I have to work much harder within it these symptoms are what my husband takes the least seriously bringing on more anxiety he expects me to have more control and doesn’t understand my need for space or why I don’t want to spend a lot of time with him right now considering he’s in a difficult process that he brought on himself and underestimates the effects I don’t want to see my anger after the way he’s mistreated me over the last few years so I’m trying to spend as little time with him as possible Maybe when I locate my brain I can reduce some frustration I may have forgotten my brain in storage when I went to pay the bill it helps to laugh at ourselves

  • This is scarily very real to me, menopause has hit me hard and mainly psychologically, very severely. I went to my GP today and had to exaggerate my physical symptoms a bit because she was, at first, reluctant to prescribe HRT on teh grounds that I was ‘only’ getting psychological symptoms and that hrt is nto effective for treating these. I exaggerated how bad my (mild) hot flashes are because I felt she was wrong and that symptoms as severe as mine should eb treated with hrt especially as I already have osteoporosis and am only 42. From watching all your videos in order and doing other research I surmised that hrt is beneficial for treating psychological symptoms. Am I right or is she right? Thanks so very much. You do great work.

  • Let’s see, do the psychological symptoms come from lack of certain hormones?? Or do lack of hormones cause the psychological symptoms?? I often wonder.

  • What can I do if I have a mental illness ( long term bipolar & a physical illness that will not be treated at a mental illness facility? Both must be maintained. Neither can be “ put on hold”. Every doctor, psychiatrist, psychologists, primary care physician and neurologist ( I have a brain aneurism). I’m really losing hope here. Please help me.

  • You look beautiful as usual! My marriage is stronger than ever! I am blessed in that way!
    However my life has some stresses that I have been told by a famous attorney that not many if any others in America have.
    I like how you created another language.You are like JR Tolkien who created the Elvish language.:)
    Another viewers comment that there a day for menopause that would be great! Such a great idea! Lets get a petition!
    Terrapause LOL! I get frustrated and did not know that was associated with menopause!
    My GYN who is a polite French man who has lived in NYC for over 25 years but never lost his accent, his wife when she went through menopause had a fracture and a bunch of other fun stuff and he told me menopause is no joke!
    If you can hear him say it in his French accent but with a NY attitude its so funny!
    I have a friend who might be watching by now who was always kind of stoic and pragmatic who is now hysterical. I gave her your channel.
    But the rest of these I never heard of Menopacolypse LOL!
    Not myself any more I really feel that way! But everyone else that to me you don’t seem like the same person any more.
    This was very informative! IMO there would be less f these symptoms like suicidal thoughts which I had no idea could happen at menopause if doctors treated their patients with respect and that what we are going though is normal.
    Thanks for another great video!
    I have a question.
    I want to just do my consultation on the phone is that okay? Also can I give you my CC number over the phone our computer is being hacked by a professional and I dont want that to hold me back. I have Skype but have not used it in years.

  • I’m defintely more on the “Meno-gressive…” slant; it makes me feel quite uneasy at times, b/c I often had physical fights in grade school. I fear I may go all “Meno-Rage” & get myself into a ‘Meno-Malfunction’ that will propel me into “Meno-Pacolypse” faster than a Duck flying into a 747!
    (I’m just loving that Chandelier in your background there, Barb! I have to wonder if you’ve gotten around to evaluating its weight-sustaining threshold???)
    LOL!!! Gotta giggle! “-P
    Signed,
    your elusive “Meno-ite,”
    Angel 😉

  • The saddest thing about my paranoia over my coworkers conspiring against me is… the fact it turned out to be true…:D Sometimes paranoia is a bless cause I fixed the problem, but it only works when your boss is not an idiot.