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Debbie asked...

Since reaching menopause I have suffered with depression, stress and anxiety.

Following a lot of depression, stress and anxiety which has arisen since reaching the menopause, I seem to become very sick and anxious whenever I am away from home. How can I better manage these anxiety attacks and avoid my susceptibility to stomach upsets?

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The answer

Although a holiday can be mentally refreshing, it is not uncommon for those affected by depression to feel anxious when away from their normal surroundings and daily routines.  Depression is often linked with anxiety symptoms, which include a constant uptight feeling and fear of things that would not normally cause this reaction. These feelings can lead to worsening of bowel disorders, particularly irritable bowel syndrome.  Travel and a change of environment can be stressful and this can sometimes trigger a panic attack with the typical symptoms of warm sweaty skin, racing heartbeat and fast breathing. Once you have experienced this reaction, your mind learns to associate this with what you were doing at that time.  To combat these problems, firstly it is important to treat the depression with help in the form of psychological intervention and, if necessary, with medication advised by your doctor.  It is also important to break the fear/anxiety cycle that you have learnt to associate with travel. This can be done by gradually increasing the amount of time you spend away from your home, which will lead to an increase in confidence and ability to turn around the fear reaction linked with holidays.


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