While there has not been good evidence to suggest that menopause (no menstrual periods for a year) is associated with any increase in depressive illnesses for those women who have not had any psychiatric problems before, some newer epidemiologic information suggests there is a small increase. The perimenopause, however, those years preceding the final menstrual period, which is a major hormonal transition like puberty, may present women with more depressive and irritable symptoms. Treatment is symptomatic. Recent work interestingly suggests that women with major depression may have an earlier onset of menopause.
In summary, depressive symptoms and disorders are very widespread. Unipolar major depression is the number one cause for burden of disease in the world according to the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1990. The conditions are hard to diagnose but are very treatable.
SEE ALSO: Bipolar disorder, Dysthymia, Postpartum disorders, Pregnancy