When women reach “a certain age,” there can be a lot of talk about Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). Female hormones are potent modulators of brain chemicals, neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. When these hormones and brain chemicals are imbalanced, in addition to causing depression, anxiety and insomnia, the imbalance can also cause drug and alcohol cravings.
Hormone Replacement Therapy proponents say HRT improves the quality of life in female patients, but their power to help women who might develop addiction issues as a result of the negative effects of midlife changes in estrogen and progesterone production.
Why HRT is Not Common
So why hasn’t this been talked about before? It may be because treatment centers aren’t likely to check hormone levels in clients undergoing treatment for substance abuse. The good news is, it is easy to evaluate and normalize brain chemistry with HRT, and treatment for addiction-related to hormone imbalances can be very successful.
This new information gives us another reason to be on the lookout for hormonal deficiencies, but it can be hard to spot the problem because the decline of female hormones is usually a gradual process. Then what should women approaching middle age be on the lookout for? New or increasing anxiety and insomnia are two indicators.
As progesterone levels drop, this “brain relaxing” hormone is missed, and without even realizing it, women may look to prescription meds like Valium or to alcohol regulate those levels. Menopause-related depression works in much the same way. But this kind of self-medicating can be dangerous and can lead to addiction. That’s why it’s important to be aware of bodily changes and changes in behavior.
Substance Abuse Treatment
If you or someone you love is battling a substance abuse, call The Oaks at La Paloma at our toll-free number. Someone is there to take your call 24 hours a day and answer any questions you have about treatment, financing or insurance.
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