Depression affects up to 25% of women at some point
in their lives.


Perimenopause and Depression:
A Window of Vulnerability


Menopause is emotionally and physically turbulent for many women, but it’s association with clinical depression is uncertain. In two longitudinal studies, researchers assessed depressive symptoms during the transition to menopause in premenopausal women without clinical depression.
One study found that women in perimenopause were more likely to have new onset of depressive symptoms or severe clinical depression than women who remained premenopausal. Analysis of the second study indicated that a high depression score was roughly four times more likely to occur during perimenopause than during a woman’s premenopausal period. Additionally, an actual diagnosis of depression was 2.5 times more likely during perimenopause.
These findings support the hypothesis that perimenopause may constitute a “window of vulnerability” for depression. We know that the onset of depression in middle or older age is associated with higher risk for chronicity and recurrence. Therefore, these findings indicate a need for an aggressive approach to diagnosing and managing depressive symptoms in perimenopausal women, particularly if the depression is of recent onset.
Arch Gen Psychiatry 2006 Apr; 63:375-82 and 63:385-90