Reuters Health – Young women using hormone-based contraceptives, including the Pill, were no more likely to be depressed than other women in a new U.S. study.In fact, the women in their 20s and 30s on hormonal contraceptives had fewer symptoms of depression than their peers using other types of contraception or no contraception at all, researchers found.
Women suffer from unipolar (as opposed to bipolar or manic) depression in greater numbers than men do; twice as much by most estimates. Three times as many teenage girls as boys report having experienced an episode of major depression.
The reason or reasons why women have unipolar depression more frequently than men is less definite, due to a great extent to the fact that we don’t fully understand what causes depression, whether in men or women. Depression is a highly individual disease. Each case is different. One person’s depression may be wholly chemical, while someone else’s is brought on by events and stressful factors in her life. Yet another person may suffer depression due to a combination of chemical and environmental factors.
(HealthDay News) — Women who take certain antidepressants while pregnant do not raise the risk of a stillbirth or death of their baby in the first year of life, according to a large new study.
The findings stem from an analysis of birth outcomes in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden that included about 1.6 million babies born between 1996 and 2007. Close to 2 percent of the infants’ mothers — about 30,000 women — took prescription selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Prozac (fluoxetine) and Paxil (paroxetine), for depressive symptoms during their pregnancy.
(HealthDay News) — Pregnant women taking the antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) face a slightly increased risk of developing dangerously high blood pressure, Canadian researchers report.
This condition, known as preeclampsia, can harm both mothers and their unborn infants, the researchers noted. However, this association may not be cause-and-effect, so women should not just stop taking these medications but should consult with their doctor if they are concerned, they stressed. Two of the most commonly prescribed SSRIs are Paxil (paroxetine) and Prozac (fluoxetine).
“We know that antidepressants should be used during pregnancy, but they should be used with caution,” said lead researcher Anick Berard, director of the research unit of medications and pregnancy at CHU Ste-Justine’s Research Center and a professor with the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Montreal.
The association between SSRIs and hypertension is a new finding, she added.
THE QUESTION How might an unborn child’s development be affected if the mother takes antidepressants during pregnancy?
THIS STUDY involved 7,696 pregnant women, most of them 27 to 30 years old. Of the 669 women in the group who had symptoms of depression, 570 women took no antidepressants, and 99 took selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) antidepressants. During pregnancy, those in the SSRI group had fewer depressive symptoms than the other 570 women. All participants in the study had periodic sonograms to measure fetal growth, including body weight and head size, which is considered an indicator of brain development. Among the women with untreated depression, fetal growth overall was slower compared with the fetuses of all other study participants. Among women who took SSRIs, fetal weight gain was not different but head sizes were the smallest, on average; their babies also were twice as likely to be born prematurely. No link was found between symptoms of depression and below-normal birth weight.
(HealthDay News) — For years, women with the severe form of premenstrual syndrome known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) were told that their symptoms should subside the day menstruation begins.
Now, new research suggests that these symptoms, which can include serious mood swings, start about four days before menstruation and can linger through the first three days of menses — as many women with the disorder can attest.
This expanded PMDD definition will help researchers update the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), due out in May 2013. The DSM classifies mental disorders by precise definitions and diagnostic criteria, and it influences treatment decisions and insurance reimbursement.
(HealthDay News) — As if the debilitating headaches weren’t bad enough, women who get migraines or have had them in the past are at increased risk for depression, a new study suggests.
Migraines are intense, throbbing headaches often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light or sound. They are three times more common in women than in men.
The study, by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, suggests that women with any history of migraines were about 40 percent more likely to develop depression than women without a similar history.
Postpartum depression is the cruelest form of depression, coming when it does. Your most joyful (albeit totally sleep-deprived) time becomes your most torturous. After I had my son, I was certainly sleep deprived, but my overwhelming emotion was wonder and absolute content. My parents told me that I was a natural mother. Certainly taking care of my son came much more easily than I had expected, and I had less self-doubt than I had anticipated.
Of course, with my history of depression, I went back on antidepressants right away (I decided not to breastfeed, since I also had to immediately start taking the medication for my Multiple Sclerosis again). I didn’t want to lose one minute of my time with my son to depression, and I knew that a mother’s depression could affect her infant. Luckily, I didn’t have one moment of postpartum depression. I didn’t even suffer from the “baby blues,” a milder form of postpartum depression, that usually starts a few days after the birth. The baby blues generally lasts less than 2 weeks, and is thought to be caused by the hormonal change and loss of endorphins after the birth.