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Menopause: Making Peace With Change

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Did We Cure Involutional Melancholy?

Involutional melancholy is thought of as a disease of perimenopausal women affecting women from ages 40-55, but in fact men of about 50-65 have approximately the same incidence. Because the syndrome was always defined as having a significant component of hypochondrias, as well as being able to be classified with other mood disorders, it is no longer recognized as a disease by the American Psychiatric Society. It's existence as a separate condition has been argued hotly over the past one hundred years. The term involutional melancholy was actually coined in 1986 by the founder of modern and scientific psychiatry Emil Kraepelin. He felt that the process of aging precipitates a unique mood disorder he noted that had features of being depressed or chronically sad, agitation or versions of mania, patients feel isolated, depersonalized and delusions of bodily change and fear of aging, and was specifically at the time of menopause. Some psychiatric researchers say that the disorder is separate than other disorders and that these patients are at a very high risk of suicide and need individualized care. Others have specifically argued that in women it's just the exacerbation of mood disorder and the addition of anxiety due to the hormonal changes and lack of sleep accompanying menopause.Thus it was not cure, but eliminated as a disorder separate from other manic-depressive conditions.

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