Cognitive Behavioral Therapy & Menopause

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy & Menopause

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem-solving. Its goal is to change patterns of thinking or behavior that are behind people’s difficulties and so change the way they feel. It is a brief, non-medical approach that can be helpful for a range of health problems, including anxiety and stress caused by menopausal cycles brought on by our aging bodies.

During the menopausal and hormonal changes aging bodies go through, women experience difficulties in their day-to-day activities. Examples include hot flashes, night sweats, and feelings of stress, anxiety, irritability, and mood swings. The consequences of these problematic physical and mental health issues can result in disruptive sleep patterns, negative relationship issues, low libido, and sexual avoidance among many others. As women, we are by nature sensitive to our surroundings, feelings, and are relational in general. When these problems arise unexpectedly, thoughts like “What is wrong with me?,” “When will this be over?,” and/or feelings of being out of control” are common among most menopausal women.

CBT can be a useful tool to have as you navigate yourself through this period of your life. For example, when a woman feels the onset of a hot flash, she may think that everyone is looking at her and that she can’t cope; this leads to feelings of embarrassment, loss of control, and anxiety. These feelings might then lead to increased tension, palpitations, and sweating, which intensify the hot flash experience. CBT can help you to find ways to reduce these negative reactions to hot flashes. Learning calmer, more neutral responses will help you feel more in control and more able to cope.

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