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Depression In Women

Women's reproductive events include the menstrual cycle , pregnancy , the post-pregnancy period , infertility , menopause , and sometimes, the decision not to have children. These events bring fluctuations in mood that for some women include depression. Researchers have confirmed that hormones have an effect on the brain chemistry that controls emotions and mood; a specific biological mechanism explaining hormonal involvement is not known, however.

For more information on the different types of depression, go here .

1. Menstruation . Many women experience certain behavioural and physical changes associated with phases of their menstrual cycles. In some women, these changes are severe, occur regularly, and include depressed feelings, irritability, and other emotional and physical changes. Called pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) or pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), the changes typically begin after ovulation and become gradually worse until menstruation starts. Scientists are exploring how the cyclical rise and fall of oestrogen and other hormones may affect the brain chemistry that is associated with depressive illness.

2. Postpartum mood changes can range from transient "blues" immediately following childbirth to an episode of major depression to severe, incapacitating, psychotic depression. Studies suggest that women who experience major depression after childbirth very often have had prior depressive episodes even though they may not have been diagnosed and treated.

3. Pregnancy (if it is desired) seldom contributes to depression, and having an abortion does not appear to lead to a higher incidence of depression. Women with infertility problems may be subject to extreme anxiety or sadness, though it is unclear if this contributes to a higher rate of depressive illness. In addition, motherhood may be a time of heightened risk for depression because of the stress and demands it imposes.

4. Menopause , in general, is not associated with an increased risk of depression. In fact, while once considered a unique disorder, research has shown that depressive illness at menopause is no different than at other ages. The women more vulnerable to change-of-life depression are those with a history of past depressive episodes.

The information in this page is presented in summarised form and has been taken from the following source(s):
1. The above information is extracted from the publication " Depression: What Every Woman Should Know " published by the National Institute of Mental Health: http://www.nimh.nih.gov


Other HON resources 
   From MedHunt
    (websites)


Postpartum Depression
    From HONselect
     (def;articles & more)   

 

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  http://www.hon.ch/Dossier/MotherChild/gynae_problems/depression.html Last modified: Jun 25 2002