Mental disorders are the cause of more than 37% of disabilities worldwide, with depression being the leading cause of disability among people aged 15 and older, according to the World Health Organization’s Global Burden of Disease and Risk Factors (2006).  Compared to men, women have twice the rate of depression, with a specific risk at puberty, premenstrually, postpartum, and in the perimenopause.  A striking 21% (1 of 5) women and 12% of men will have at least one episode of major depressive disorder in their lifetimes. 

About 5% of women experience premenstrual dysphoric disorder, a recurrent period of marked irritability and mood instability in the 1-2 weeks before menses.  Depression during pregnancy and after birth occurs in about 14% of mothers.  During the menopausal transition, depression affects between 12-23% of women 40-59 years old.  Many treatment options are available to restore stable mood and reclaim function.  The Assessing Stress, Health, Emotion, and Response (ASHER) Registry Clinic at Northwestern University is targeting  this problem.  Their initial focus will be on the clinical care of women with reproductive related depressive episodes.

Source:  Asher Center for Research and Treatment of Depressive Disorders
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine