When are Menopausal Symptoms Psychiatric?
Talbia Mental Health Center, Jerusalem
Nervousness, sleep disorders, mood instability and sexual dysfunction are frequent symptoms during menopause. It is commonly believed that they are due to the characteristic menopausal hormonal changes. However, they also commonly occur in psychiatric disorders unrelated to the menopause. The literature deals with the characteristic psychological aspects and studies have examined the ways in which menopausal phenomena are related to the hormonal background and its effect on the brain.
The clinical menopausal picture may be complicated by secondary psychiatric disease. Also, menopausal symptoms and symptoms of previous psychiatric disease may coexist. In addition, menopause may precipitate psychiatric disorders in women predisposed to them.
Accumulated personal myths and expectations related to the menopause are likely to affect the way in which a woman copes with it. Important factors in this connection include education, culture and certain life events. In all such cases precise evaluation of the etiology, with its intermingled gynecological and psychiatric factors is required. Such women should be treated by both a gynecologist and a psychiatrist.
We present 5 cases, 4 of which were sent to the menopause clinic and were then referred for psychiatric evaluation and treatment. The other case presented at a psychiatric clinic due to a first acute psychostate. Laboratory tests showed typical changes of menopause.