Vasomotor Symptoms and Depression in Women, Part 2. Treatments That Cause Remission and Prevent Relapses of Major Depressive Episodes Overlap With Treatments for Vasomotor Symptoms

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Vasomotor symptoms may be linked to changing levels of estrogen, which can affect levels of neurotransmitters and neural proteins that modulate the risk of depression in some women, thus serving as harbingers of oncoming depression or signs of incomplete recovery from a major depressive episode (MDE). The question arises whether clinicians who normally diagnose and treat depression should also diagnose and treat vasomotor symptoms, and if so, how.

Fluctuating estrogen levels can theoretically create monoaminergic dysfunction in the brain; when this dysregulation occurs in the hypothalamic thermoregulatory centers, vasomotor symptoms may occur (Figure 1).

J Clin Psychiatry 2009;70(3):310-311