|The three major symptoms of the Hurried Woman Syndrome are:
- Fatigue or a low mood
- Weighht gain
- Low sex drive (libido)
It is estimated that about 30 million women suffer from these symptoms each year. It’s an epidemic!
Who gets the Hurried Woman Syndrome?
Women, usually between the ages of 25 and 55 and often with children between the ages of 4 and 16, are most often affected by the Hurried Woman Syndrome. Many Hurried Women work outside the home, but a large number of women who suffer with the syndrome stay at home.
Do you have to have children in the home to have the Hurried Woman Syndrome?
Even women who don’t have children can come down with it --- a stressful career, sick relative, or burdensome responsibilities can all contribute to making the symptoms worse.
What causes the Hurried Woman Syndrome?
Actually, stress is probably the single most important factor that causes women to complain about the Hurried Woman Syndrome. There are many types of stress and they vary from patient to patient. Sometimes the stress can’t be avoided, such as a sick child or a high-powered career. However, for the majority of women, much of the stress is avoidable or at least could be managed better. These avoidable stresses are those that often come from a busy, hectic schedule and lifestyle choices that many of us have embraced as completely "normal." Yet, the effects of this kind of stress --- what I call "hurry" --- can have very significant long-term and wide-reaching consequences for the woman who labors under it and those around her who suffer along with her.
Aren’t there medical conditions that can cause these symptoms?
Absolutely. If you are suffering from any of these complaints, you should consult with your doctor early in the process. Anemia, low thyroid, some infections, and other metabolic problems can cause fatigue and weight gain. Your doctor will probably want to test you for these conditions, and maybe a few more after talking with you. Fatigue can lower sex drive, as can some hormonal problems such as menopause, peri-menopause and a low testosterone level. Your doctor can often help here, too. One major medical problem that needs to be evaluated early is the possibility of depression.
How do I know if I’m depressed or not?
The only way to know whether you’re suffering from depression is to be tested. Consider taking a quick Mood Assessment Quiz to see if you might be suffering from depression.
You should compare your score on the self-assessment quiz with the following scale:
||Within normal range or early pre-depression
|45 - 55
||Suspect pre-depression or mild depression
|56 - 65
||Suspect moderate to remarkable depression
||* Significant depression likely
* If you scored above 65, you need to seek help from your physician right away!
If your score fell between 45 and 65, you should consult your doctor as medications will most likely be helpful in getting you back to "feeling yourself" again. At least discuss your symptoms with a physician to find out what treatments, if any, are best for you.
If you scored anywhere between 20 and 65, you will still most likely benefit from reading this book because the recommendations given here will help lower the stresses in your life that are making you feel less than 100% yourself.
Well, if you’re not depressed but you’re not happy with how you feel, what are you? You are experiencing what I call "pre-depression." A psychiatrist would probably call it minor depression or dysthymia, but I am not willing to debate the point. Practically speaking, you are somewhere between depression and normal (whatever that is!).
What is "pre-depression?"
First, let’s talk about depression. Depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain’s Serotonin-Dopamine system. It has nothing to do with being a "whimp" or a "weenie." It’s a serious medical condition that you can’t just "wish away" with positive attitude, anymore than you can raise a low serum potassium level back to normal with happy thoughts. It usually requires medication to treat, and is very effectively treated when treatment is started early.
The symptoms of major depression are:
**Sad or irritable mood (dysphoria)
**Loss of interest/capacity for pleasure (anhedonia)
Sleep problems (too much or too little)
**Appetite/weight (increase or decrease)
Impaired concentration/decision making
Suicidal thoughts (particularly planning it)
Feelings of guilt, self-blame, worthlessness
**High fatigue levels
Psychomotor agitation/retardation (fidgeting or slouchiness)
A diagnosis of major depression requires at least five of these symptoms, with at least one symptom from Group 1. (Notice that the Hurried Woman complains of at least 3 or 4 of these symptoms.) The symptoms also need to affect every-day living, not just a bad weekend or a brief "crying jag."
The level of chemical imbalance in the brain determines how severe the symptoms of depression are. For example, if your chemicals are 35% out-of-balance or worse, you’re depressed. You’ll have at least five of the symptoms listed above and they will be apparent in your every day life. If you brain chemicals are better than 90% balanced, you feel essentially normal; some days may be better than others, but you can still function.
But, when your brain’s chemical balance is somewhere in between normal and depressed, where are you? I call this zone "pre-depression". The chemical imbalance of pre-depression accounts for most of the symptoms of the Hurried Woman Syndrome --- fatigue, loss of interest in activities (including sex), weight gain, and a down mood.
How does stress cause pre-depression and the Hurried Woman Syndrome?
Stress has been proven to cause depression. If your spouse dies and you don’t bounce back within six months, we diagnose you with depression, start you on antidepressants, and --- you get well! Stress can cause depression. If the stress of losing your spouse can cause your brain chemistry to become imbalanced to the point of causing a major depression, isn’t it logical that lesser levels of stress can cause lesser levels of depression, like pre-depression?
Isn’t it also equally logical that if antidepressants can reverse the higher levels of unbalanced brain chemistry that occur in major depression, they can also help in women with lower levels of chemical imbalance, such as the pre-depression of Hurried Woman Syndrome? Of course they can!!!
Remember, its been proven that stress can cause heart attacks, ulcers, and high blood pressure. It’s no far stretch to see that stress could also cause depression.
How do stress and the symptoms of the Hurried Woman Syndrome relate to each other?
In the typical Hurried Woman, chronic stress --- often the type that comes from a busy lifestyle (work, kids, taking care of elderly parents, and a hectic schedule) --- over time, causes a chemical imbalance in the brain’s Serotonin-Dopamine system. This chemical imbalance causes fatigue, and also an increase in appetite. When the fatigue becomes noticeable, she will often begin to lose interest in activities, including exercise and sex. The combination of an increasing appetite and decreasing activity levels will cause weight gain, which further compounds the fatigue levels and low sex drive. As she gains more weight, she often becomes angry with herself, many times taking it out on the people around her, which causes feelings of guilt. A vicious cycle ensues --- more fatigue causes more weight gain which causes more fatigue, lower libido, lower self-esteem with more guilt, and on. . .and on . . . and on --- the Hurried Woman Syndrome.
How do you treat the Hurried Woman Syndrome?
Of course, that’s the central focus of The Hurried Woman by Brent W. Bost, MD, FACOG.
You’ve probably decided by now that there may be something here for you — some help, finally! You may not be complaining about trouble in all three symptom areas, but you know that something’s wrong and you want to feel better. But, you may ask, why read The Hurried Woman when there are so many other self-help books available? Two reasons: First, and most important, The Hurried Woman has the right strategy for each of the three problem areas — fatigue, weight control, and improving your marriage both physically and emotionally. Second, The Hurried Woman is the only integrated approach to overcoming these common, but very important, problems. You could go out and buy a diet book, a book on fatigue, a self-help marriage guide, and a book on getting the stress out of your life — four books — and probably get a handle on some of your problems. However, The Hurried Woman addresses the underlying cause of these symptoms and offers a unified approach to conquering fatigue, lifelong weight management, and re-kindling the fire in your relationships --- based on the latest medical research available, not unproven "home remedies" and folklore. No other book can help you do all of these things as effectively.