Risk factors for depression during perimenopause

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Perimenopause is often associated with varying levels of psychological distress. Research has identified this time as a period of increased risk for both depression and psychosis. However, we know that the majority of women do not experience these difficulties during perimenopause. This chapter examines the current research literature looking at the factors associated with mental health difficulties during perimenopause, including both protective factors and those associated with increased risk. Evidence has shown that some women have a hormonal vulnerability to mood disorders. However, this does not fully account for the phenomenon of perimenopausal depression or psychosis in and of itself. Rather, there appears to be a complex interplay between hormonal vulnerability, the psychosocial resources one has (coping skills and social support), their overall well-being (exercise and other lifestyle factors), and the demands on their coping resources (stressful life events). The complexity of the relationship between perimenopause and mental health means that there is a need to look beyond either as a sole explanation for psychiatric illness during midlife. The importance of a biopsychosocial approach to formulation of mental health difficulties in midlife is particularly evident when looking at treatment and prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWomen's Reproductive Mental Health Across the Lifespan
EditorsDiana Lynn Barnes
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9783319051161
ISBN (Print)3319051156, 9783319051154
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2014

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