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Academic Highlights

Optimizing Mental Health for Women: Recognizing and Treating Mood Disorders Throughout the Lifespan

Kathryn M. Abel, MA, MBBS, FRCP, FRCPsych, PhD, and Marlene P. Freeman, MD

Published: September 18, 2023


Mood disorders can come and go during the reproductive stages of a woman’s life and beyond and can include premenstrual-related mood disorders, depression and other psychiatric disorders during pregnancy, postpartum mood disorders, and depression during menopause, as well as comorbid psychiatric conditions. Women may have regular contact with health care providers at these various stages in their lives, providing an opportunity for treatment intervention. However, clinicians struggle to effectively identify and manage these disorders, leaving women’s mental health issues unaddressed and causing unnecessary suffering, multiple comorbidities, and unwanted outcomes. Context is essential for diagnoses and treatment, and spending time with patients, taking a full history, and taking the time to understand each patient’s perspective during these complex periods lead to more accurate diagnoses, ultimately facilitating more effective treatment plans. An array of options is available for treating women’s mental health, including antidepressants, oral contraceptives, hormones and recently approved neurosteroids, and nonpharmacological approaches. Clinicians need to be aware of which treatment options are available and evidence-based, guideline-directed solutions to help women manage their mental health. Creating patient-centered, individualized, evidence-based treatment plans is key to optimizing outcomes for women across their lifespan.

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Kathryn M. Abel, MA, MBBS, FRCP, FRCPsych, PhD, University of Manchester, Manchester, England
Marlene P. Freeman, MD, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
J Clin Psychiatry 2023;84(5):vtsmdd2136ahc
To Cite: Abel KM, Freeman MP. Optimizing mental health for women: recognizing and treating mood disorders throughout the lifespan. J Clin Psychiatry 2023;84(5):JCP.vtsmdd2136ahc.
© Copyright 2023 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc. 

Volume: 84

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