Mass General Hospital

Harvard Medical School


Credit: Depressed Mother from Wikimedia Commons

Telephone-Based CBT for Postpartum Depression

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for mood and anxiety disorders and has been shown to be effective for the treatment of postpartum depression (PPD).  However, not all women have access to CBT-savvy therapists.  In addition, it is often difficult for new mothers to travel outside of the home for regular appointments.  A recent […]

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Many Pregnant Women Unaware of the Risks of Electronic Cigarettes

More and more people are using electronic cigarettes.  While e-cigarettes are often touted as being safer than tobacco-containing cigarettes, there is fierce debate among experts as to whether this is actually the case.  There is also no evidence that e-cigarettes facilitate smoking cessation. A recent study suggests that many pregnant women — more than 40% […]

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Photo by Christoph Lehmann

Proving the Estrogen Withdrawal Hypothesis of Perimenopausal Depression

Because women appear to be at increased risk for new onset and recurrent depression as they transition into the menopause, it has been hypothesized that declining ovarian function — or estrogen “withdrawal” — may trigger depressive symptoms in some women.  While this is a very reasonable and totally plausible hypothesis, no studies have formally tested […]

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Credit: Hugrekk via flickr

Pregnancy Brain?  Or is it Depression?

Many pregnant women complain of “pregnancy brain”.  They describe that they feel less sharp than usual and often complain of bouts of forgetfulness.  Is it because they are distracted by thinking about and planning for the arrival of the new baby?  Is it the hormones? Is it sleep deprivation? A new study suggests that depression may […]

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Photo by Christoph Lehmann

Research Study: Vortioxetine for Perimenopausal and Postmenopausal Women

The menopausal transition is a difficult time for many women.  There is an increased risk of depressive episodes during this transition in the reproductive lifecycle, and the majority of women will experience symptoms related to perimenopause (such as hot flashes, sleep disturbance, and cognitive complaints). Vortioxetine (brand name Brintellix) is a novel antidepressant that was […]

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Some Cases of Postpartum Psychosis May Be Autoimmune Encephalitis

Postpartum psychosis is the most severe form of postpartum psychiatric illness.  It is a rare event, affecting about 1 out of every 1000 births.  Postpartum psychosis occurs most frequently in first-time mothers, typically within the first two weeks after delivery.  Symptoms are typically severe and represent an affective episode: mania, depression, or a mixed state.  Because psychotic symptoms occur within […]

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By Vera Kratochvil [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Interventions for the Prevention of Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a relatively common problem, affecting between 10% and 15% of women after delivery. Although it is difficult to reliably predict which women in the general population will experience postpartum mood disturbance, it is possible to identify certain subgroups of women who are more vulnerable to postpartum affective illness. For example, women […]

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In Brief: Group CBT for Perinatal Anxiety

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is well-established as a treatment for anxiety disorders; however, few studies have examined the efficacy of CBT specifically tailored to address perinatal anxiety. A recent pilot study has explored the use of a group CBT intervention. The group included 10 pregnant or postpartum women who were recruited from a hospital setting and […]

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Photo by Christoph Lehmann

SSRIs for Vasomotor Symptoms and Bone Health

Recent research has indicated that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be an effective option for the treatment of vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause. However, it has been documented in some recent observational studies that SSRIs are associated with an increased risk of bone loss in older patients (2, 4). Since postmenopausal women are already […]

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Augmentation with Quetiapine (Seroquel) for Women with PMDD

For women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the first line of pharmacological treatment. A significant body of evidence, including numerous double-blind, randomized studies, supports the effectiveness of SSRIs in reducing both the emotional, as well as physical symptoms, of PMS and PMDD. In general, women respond to low doses […]

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