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Menopause and Depression

Myths persist that there is an increased incidence of depression which accompanies menopause. According to a study in the Archives of General Psychiatry (Jan. 2004), there is an increased likelihood of depressive symptoms during the transition to menopause, but a corresponding decreased likelihood of depression after menopause. This was seen after statistical adjustments were made to exclude other predictors of depression such as a history of depression, severe premenstrual syndrome or PMDD, poor sleep, age, race and employment status.

This study was unique in that it was done prospectively, over four years, in an equal number of premenopausal African American and white women (218 in each group). These women were all aged 35 to 47 years, had regular menstrual cycles,were taking no hormonal or psychotropic medications, and had no serious physicalor mental health problems at the beginning of the study.

This study supported previous hypotheses that depressive symptoms as are more highly correlated with the changing hormonal status of perimenopause-or the transition to menopause-than menopause itself. In many women, additional exacerbating factors may confuse the diagnosis or the symptoms of mood swings or depressive mood.

Click here for more information about depression or other mental health issues.

Created: 3/18/2004  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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