First Ever Guidelines Address Depression in Midlife Women

New evaluation and treatment recommendations are specific to perimenopause, the years before menopause, when women are especially vulnerable to mood problems. The field of medicine has really grown in its appreciation for the need to understand factors that contribute to women’s vulnerability to depression. For example, there is much more understanding, outreach, and treatment for depression during pregnancy and postpartum today compared with 20 years ago. But depression during perimenopause is even more frequent than depression during pregnancy, yet very little is known about it. The good news: The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) and the Women and Mood Disorders Task Force of the National Network of Depression Centers have released the first-ever guidelines for the evaluation and treatment of perimenopausal depression, published online on September 4, 2018, simultaneously in the journal Menopause and the Journal of Women’s Health. These guidelines have also been endorsed by the International Menopause Society.

7 Common Myths About Depression

1.Breaking the Stigmas for Better Depression Care.

2.Depression Risk Is Higher During Perimenopause Than After a Women Reaches Menopause.

3.Determining Exactly When a Woman Reaches Menopause Is Tricky.

4.What Is the Connection Between Perimenopause and Depression?

5.Hormones Flux May Mess With Menstrual Cycles, Healthy Sleep.

6.Women’s Life Changes in Forties Also Affect Mood Cycles.

7.Get Your Physician to Pay Attention to You.

Diagnosis of Perimenopausal Depression

The causes of midlife depression are complex; it’s not easy to tease out what is biology and what is environment. According to the new guidelines, diagnosis of depressive disorders during midlife includes:

  • Clinical assessment of depression and other mental health issues
  • Review of previous psychiatric history
  • Identification of menopause stage
  • Discussion of the woman’s life stressors
  • Overview of sleep hygiene