Menopause and depression: A review of psychologic function and sex steroid neurobiology during the menopause

Travis A. Richardson, Randal D. Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The purpose of this review is threefold. The first objective is to assess from current literature the extent to which depressive symptoms may be associated with peri- and postmenopausal states. Although there have been many studies published addressing this topic, there remains much controversy as to whether there is a true positive correlation of increased depressive symptomatology with the peri- and postmenopausal periods. Second, sex steroid neurobiology will be reviewed. In recent years, improved technology has allowed for much more detail in investigations of the central mechanisms of action of the sex hormones. Ultimately, estrogen appears to play an excitatory role in the central nervous system, whereas progesterone has been shown to be inhibitory. The third objective is to determine whether sex steroids have been shown to clinically affect mood and psychologic function, and if so, how such information might relate to regimens for peri- and postmenopausal hormone replacement. Currently, only large, pharmacologic doses of estrogen have been shown to improve mood in clinically depressed patients. Estrogen has been shown to potentiate the effects of some antidepressants; therefore menopausal women with major depressive disorders may respond to lower doses of antidepressant medications when estrogen replacement is added to the treatment regimen. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-223
Number of pages9
JournalPrimary Care Update for Ob/Gyns
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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