Menopause and Panic Attacks – PTSD from Childhood May Reappear During MidLife Transition

by Laura Ramirez on July 14, 2011

Menopause and panic attacks can be a problem for many women. For some reason, old traumas from childhood seem to resurface during the menopausal years. For instance, recently, a number of women who have written to me saying that during menopause, they suddenly recalled incidents of abuse or molestation from their childhoods. In every case, these women had no prior recall of child abuse.

My husband, a psychotherapist of 30 years, says, “All trauma lives in the same closet.” The stress associated with life changes that we can’t control (like menopause) may open the door to this closet, letting all the monsters out. The good news is when someone helps you look at these monsters with the perspective of an adult (instead of a traumatized child), they dissolve in the light of day.

 

Post traumatic stress disorder from childhood sexual and physical abuse resulted in panic attacks which crippled Woodward during the onset of menopause and left her a virtual prisoner in her home for over a year. She was enslaved by anxiety and the medications she was taking to curtail symptoms.

“Menopause kicked in and kicked everything over. Rolling panic attacks left me completely incapable of leaving my home, I was so afraid,” she said.

 


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What many women are doing to alleviate menopause and panic attacks is get therapy service dogs. While these dogs give the owner someone to care for and love and are trained to calm and soothe the owner, this is no replacement for therapy for post traumatic stress disorder. Since left untreated, PTSD will negatively impact your quality of life, it’s important to find a good therapist.ᅠ

How about you? Have you had a number of panic attacks since the onset of menopause? Do you think these panic attacks are related to childhood trauma? Please share your stories and experiences so we can get a better understanding of the link between panic attacks and menopause.

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