Naomi Lam and Sudha Prathikanti

in Integrative Women's Health

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780195378818
Published online November 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199348800 | DOI:



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  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Allied Health Professions
  • Complementary and Alternative Medicine


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The etiology of depression is unclear, but it appears to involve not only physiological and psychosocial but also genetic and environmental effects. Specific events in the reproductive life cycle of women—puberty, menses, childbirth, and menopause—appear to put women at higher risk of suffering from depression. In addition to these hormonal risk factors, psychosocial stressors play an important role in this increased vulnerability to depression. Women are more likely than men to live in poverty, which is in itself a chronic stressor, and they are thus more likely to be exposed to stressors such as violence and crime. Socialization into traditionally female roles, which tends to involve developing behaviors of nurturance, dependence, and passivity, is also postulated to have an impact on women’s increased vulnerability to depression. Given the rich and complicated intra- and interpersonal environment in which depression arises, it seems prudent to approach treatment with a holistic and flexible mindset. Integrative medicine lends itself very well to this approach. Chapter 33 presents brief descriptions of the diagnosis and conventional treatment of depression, and will then focus on specific integrative treatments for depression, presenting evidence for women where available.

Chapter.  6336 words. 

Subjects: Obstetrics and Gynaecology ; Allied Health Professions ; Complementary and Alternative Medicine

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