45 years is the equator of human life. For a woman, this is not only time to sum up intermediate results, but also to accept irreversible physiological changes. This stage is not painless for everyone.
A woman who has stepped over the forty-year mark, more and more often notices that even the slightest nuisance can take her out of emotional balance, make her irritable, capricious and hot-tempered. Psychologists warn that this is how the female psyche reacts to one of the most difficult stages of life.
As a rule, by the age of 45, women begin to lose their attractiveness, they increasingly compare themselves to young girls, which only aggravates the crisis of self-esteem. Another unpleasant fact for a 45-year-old woman is that her peer husband is not as susceptible to age-related changes as she is.
Internal changes are added to external changes, as indicated by climacteric symptoms. This is the time when the production of female sex hormones estrogen is significantly reduced, which triggers the process of irreversible restructuring of the entire body. Out of nowhere appears insomnia, increased sweating, fatigue, sagging skin and muscles, active hair loss. No matter how a woman resists, the body repeats one thing to her: "You are fading!"
Menopause is a natural physiological process that lasts up to 10 years, when, against the background of hormonal age-related changes, a gradual extinction of the reproductive system occurs. With the right lifestyle (diet, psychological and gynecological prevention, in some cases drug therapy), a woman can go through this difficult period relatively painlessly.
But if in some women menopause does not cause pathological changes, then in others it can lead to the development of menopausal syndrome. According to the WHO, it occurs in about 30-50% of women. Depending on the woman's body, menopausal syndrome can be accompanied by disorders of the functions of the endocrine, nervous or cardiovascular systems, while the quality of life is often reduced and disability occurs.
According to social psychologist Svetlana Troshina, one of the markers of the unfavorable course of menopause is the contradiction between desires and real possibilities. For almost the first time in her life, a woman is faced with the fact that she is no longer able to satisfy all her needs. This, in turn, leads to a serious psycho-emotional transformation.
Often, a woman over 40 years old has unexpected changes in character. She can challenge aging in the most radical way: get a tattoo, piercings, completely revise her wardrobe and image, which will most likely put her in a disadvantageous light in front of acquaintances.
A midlife crisis is also characteristic of a man: he is also forced to accept a series of irreversible physiological changes. However, it is the female psyche with its inherent lability that becomes more vulnerable to the challenge of time. For women exposed to a midlife crisis, old interests often disappear, and a vacuum forms in their place. Healthy emotions are replaced by indifference and complete apathy.
Neurosis-like disorders become a typical phenomenon for women over forty: they can be expressed in increased irascibility and even aggression, in phobic and depressive symptoms, in a feeling of loneliness and hopelessness. At this time, the fear of death is felt with special force, which is brought nearer by the inexorable run of time. As you age, the likelihood of developing dementia and associated psychiatric complications increases.
Affective, obsessive and anxiety states are fraught with more serious disorders, up to psychosis.In the early 1990s, a group of British psychiatrists discovered that women 45+ were at risk of developing schizophrenia. According to statistics, schizophrenia is diagnosed in about 1% of the world's population; about 20% of cases of this disorder are first diagnosed after 45 years.
According to a study by Chen L. et al, the onset of schizophrenia at an early (up to 26 years old) and middle (from 26 to 40 years old) age is more typical for men, but at a later age (after 40) women are predominantly at risk of developing schizophrenia.
Unfortunately, the prognosis for the course of schizophrenia is almost always unfavorable. The life expectancy of people with this disease is 10-25 years less than that of the rest of the population, and the likelihood of suicide is 13 times higher. According to the Federal State Statistics Service, in our country for the life period of 45-49 years there is one of the peaks of female deaths from suicide (22 cases per 100 thousand). For comparison, in adolescence, 12 girls per 100 thousand die due to suicide in Russia.
Women diagnosed with schizophrenia can be dangerous not only for themselves, but also for those around them. New York journalist Lisa Miller, in her article “Midlife Psychosis,” tells of a devout Christian patient who suddenly believed that her teenage son was possessed by the devil and that the only way to help a child was to exorcise the evil spirit with a kitchen knife. Fortunately, the son, terrified to death, managed to call the rescue service, which took the mother to the clinic.
It is still not known exactly for what reasons the debut of schizophrenia occurs, but scientists have established that genes play a role here. This is evidenced by statistics. If one of the relatives is sick with schizophrenia, for example, a cousin, then the risk of getting this diagnosis doubles. But if schizophrenia was diagnosed in one of the parents, then the risk increases 15 times!
However, in relation to women who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia after 40 years, heredity does not play such a role as in young people. Here the stressor becomes more important - for example, divorce or job loss.
According to one hypothesis, the development of schizophrenia in women, along with other risk factors, can provoke a drop in the level of the hormone estrogen, which until a certain time held back the onset of the disease. Another provoking factor in the onset of schizophrenia in women after forty is the presence of affective disorders (among mature women with schizophrenia, approximately 45% had serious problems in the emotional sphere).
Is it possible for a woman to avoid the consequences that the fateful mark at 45 is preparing? Psychologists advise to accept age-related changes as inevitable and try to find their advantages in them. If problems cannot be resolved on their own, then it is better to use the support of relatives, friends, or resort to the help of mental health specialists.
Gastroenterologist Elena Denisova recommends that women in adulthood spend more time outdoors, generally lead an active lifestyle, and also revise their diet. The doctor advises to avoid spicy and fatty foods, do not lean on starchy foods and include more fruits, vegetables, dairy products, cereals and lean meat in the diet.