Exploring The Connection Between Menopause And Anxiety

Medically reviewed by Paige Henry, LMSW, J.D.
Updated February 20, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Menopause can feel like a mysterious topic for some. It's not generally discussed in public, which can make it difficult for many experiencing menopause symptoms to find validation and unbiased educational information about their current condition.

Menopause can come with it a lot of other symptoms that might not often be discussed in the general public or among those who might experience it. One of these symptoms, for many, can be the formation of anxiety disorders (and their subsequent physical and mental effects). 

Read on to learn more about the possible links between menopause and anxiety disorder formation, and explore scientifically-supported methods to help if you find yourself experiencing similar symptoms.

Coping with anxiety and menopause symptoms can be challenging

What are anxiety disorders?

Nervousness is considered by many to be a feeling something that most might experience at some point in their lives. It can be transient and can be defined by many as defined as feeling overwhelmed about something—or being worried with no single discernable cause. 

This is not generally considered to be the same condition or experience as one might have with an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders can be a diagnosis that many might face that can make daily living difficult.  Anxiety disorders are statistically suggested to be the most common mental health condition in the United States, and are thought to affect more than 40 million adults every year.

If you have never experienced an anxiety disorder, some of the symptoms can include the following:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle tension
  • Nausea and other gastrointestinal distress
  • Chills
  • Heart palpitations

Even if you have experienced these symptoms, the hormonal changes that can happen during menopause can make them feel more severe than what you have experienced before.

Is it normal for anxiety disorders and menopause to co-occur?

It is not generally considered uncommon for those who experience “the change” to experience feelings of nervousness or formation of anxiety disorders during menopause. Many new experiences might happen during this time that can make people feel nervous or stressed, which can possibly underlie formal anxiety disorder formation. 

Additionally, experiencing menopausal symptoms (such as night sweats and hot flashes) can contribute to any unnerving feelings that people might experience as they undergo menopause. It also can become more challenging for many to sleep when transitioning to menopause, which may exacerbate symptoms.

Tips for coping with anxiety disorders and menopause

Generally speaking, one can address symptoms of anxiety disorder the same as they would if it occurred without the influence of menopause. Medication, therapy, mindfulness and journaling can all be considered as you evaluate which course of treatment you’ll start with. 

Additionally, if you have experienced anxiety disorder-related symptoms in the past and found a successful way to live well with them, then this could be what you need to do when you are in menopause and experiencing similar symptoms. 

Anxiety disorders can be manageable for many if one dedicates time and energy to finding strategies that work them. 

Here are some things that can help you live well despite menopause and anxiety disorder-related symptoms.


Sometimes, all it takes to deal with anxious thoughts is to get them out of our heads and onto paper. If you are experiencing thoughts that make you nervous or that prompt the onset of other anxiety disorder-related symptoms, you might consider journaling. 

You can do this through a physical journal, or you can do it through a journaling app on your phone or device. The goal of this process for many is to take all of those thoughts that you have been stressing about out of your head, and onto paper—possibly prompting cogitation and processing in a healthier and more efficient way.

Reevaluation of your current situation 

Sometimes we can feel nervous because things are changing, and we don't know what to expect. 

At the age when most might be experiencing menopause, there can a lot of life changes that are happening that may be exascerbating one’s symptoms. These changes can vary for everyone, and could include events such as teenage transitions,  children leaving home, health concerns or strain related to one’s aging parent(s) and any upcoming retirement transitions. 

During this time of change, it can be important that you give yourself a break. You might consider taking some of the pressure off of yourself. To do this, you might remind yourself that you are going through something new in life and things aren't the same as they used to be—and that they don’t have to be! 


Focus on your sleep

Everything can seem harder to handle when you are not getting enough sleep. If you are struggling with sleep, you can talk to your doctor to see what options there are for you. They may be able to offer you some natural remedies that you can use to help relax your mind to fall asleep, as well as other lifestyle changes you can consider that can promote a higher overall quality of sleep. 

Maintain healthy life habits

Maintaining your physical health can play a significant role in helping to maintain your mental health. If you’re not sure where to begin, you can consider making sure that you are getting exercise. This is an excellent way to reduce stress and can promote the release of endorphins (which can help to limit the effects of anxiety disorder-related symptoms). You might also consider maintaining a healthy diet and avoiding caffeine and alcohol, as both of these things can worsen the symptoms of anxiety disorders in some.

Focus on the positive

If you are feeling nervous, it can be easy to think about all the negative things in your life and focus there. However, focusing on these things might increase the levels of strain and stress that you already might be feeling. 

Instead, you can try focusing on the positive things. Doing this can look different depending on individual preference. Some may choose to keep a gratitude list of all the things you are thankful for, which can help you to remind yourself of the positives when you feel like you are in a bad moment. Some might also go on “satisfied scavenger hunts,” looking for things throughout the day that are positive. 

Controlling your thoughts can be a helpful skill to master, possibly empowering you to manage your breathing and the intensity of your anxiety disorder-related symptoms more effectively.

Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is generally considered to be a form of meditation that can help you to focus on the current moment rather than what’s to come. It can enable you to be aware of yourself in the present and take your mind off past or future events. 

When you practice mindfulness, you can see anything you do that could be contributing to your anxiety. It can help to make you more aware of the tension that may be in your body, and how your body is releasing it. It can also help you to control your breathing—which can help lower the intensity of your anxiety disorder-related symptoms.

Control your breathing

When anxiety disorder-related symptoms begin to build, your breathing may begin to change. When you start to feel symptoms intensify, it can be helpful to take slow, deep, and intentional breaths. You can then focus on maintaining your rate and depth of breathing, shifting focus from the original source of stress.

Join a support group

Knowing that others out there know what you're going through can be helpful to some. If you are experiencing symptoms of an anxiety disorder, you can consider joining a support group of people who may be experiencing the same thing. If you meet with these people, they may be able to tell you about the things they have tried that benefit them—and you might be able to do the same for them. 

The feeling of connection can also go a long way in easing anxiety disorder-related symptoms for many, encouraging the thought that someone has a group of like-minded people to turn to in times of strain.

Talk to a therapist 

There are many ways to ease the feelings of nervousness temporarily. However, if you're experiencing menopause and anxiety disorders in a co-occurring way, it can be helpful to talk to a therapist. 

Anxiety disorders and depression can be normal things that can co-occur when people experience menopause—but if they are left unchecked, they can cause a lower quality of life for some. A therapist can help patients to understand the possible root causes of their symptoms, supporting them in finding a support plan that works well for their specific needs.
Coping with anxiety and menopause symptoms can be challenging

How online therapy can help

If you’re interested in talking to a therapist about an anxiety disorder or another mental health condition that could be related to menopause, online therapy may be a good option.

One of the many benefits of online therapy is that it’s convenient for many. Because you can attend sessions from the comfort of your own home, you might not have to worry about commuting to an office or being on a waiting list. You can simply contact your therapist at any time, and they’ll get back to you as soon as they can. 

Studies have found details that suggest that online therapy can be effective, resulting in “clinically meaningful improvements in depression and anxiety scores relative to a baseline that was observed post-intervention at 12 weeks and sustained at program month 6”. 

If you want to learn more, feel free to connect with a BetterHelp therapist to get started. 


Menopause can come with co-occurring anxiety disorders, whether you have a history of anxiety disorders or not. If you need help dealing with these symptoms or any of the complicated feelings menopause can bring, talking to an online therapist can help. BetterHelp can connect you with an online therapist in your area of need.
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