Depression Around Menopause Often Goes Undetected
New research suggests a high number of women experience symptoms of depression during perimenopause yet the mental health issue is not detected and as a consequence, untreated.
Investigators discovered almost 40 percent of women experience symptoms of depression during perimenopause. However, many health care providers do not assess or screen for depression and are not prepared with treatment options.
The study appears online in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).
The high number of women experiencing symptoms of depression has been linked to hormone changes, historical depressive episodes, life events and a genetic predisposition to depression.
Researchers believe that, as more data emerges to support the presence of risk factors for depression during perimenopause, health care providers need to become better educated in order to recognize and manage depression.
Rates of routine screening and health care-provider beliefs and knowledge about symptoms of depression in perimenopause remained unstudied until now. The aim of the new study was to better understand clinical practice patterns of obstetrician-gynecologists regarding their screening practices and management of depression.
The survey was sent to 500 practicing obstetrician-gynecologists who were fellows of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and members of the Collaborative Ambulatory Research Network.
Researchers found that more than a third of respondents (34.1 percent) did not regularly screen perimenopausal women for depression and that more than half (55 percent) believed they were not equipped to manage the problem.
Training and education regarding the risk of depression surrounding pregnancy does appear effective as health providers who had received higher-quality education about depression performed more screening.
These findings suggest that improved training for obstetrician-gynecologists in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of depression, both in residency and later, could improve rates of screening.
The specialty of obstetrics and gynecology is considered primary care in America as many women rely on their ob-gyn to be their main physician during childbearing ages. Then, as individuals age they continue to rely on the ob-gyn to direct their care.
“Given the prevalence of depressive symptoms in perimenopausal women, the recent publication of guidelines for the diagnosis and management of depression in this population, and the availability of safe and effective therapies, all health care providers should be screening their female patients for depression,” said Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director.
Nauert PhD, R. (2020). Depression Around Menopause Often Goes Undetected. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 14, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2020/01/23/depression-around-menopause-often-goes-undetected/153607.html