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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2001 Nov;25(5 Suppl):S102-8.

Chronobiological basis of female-specific mood disorders.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0804, USA.


Women have twice the incidence of major depression compared with men. They are prone to develop episodes of depression during times of reproductive hormonal change at puberty, with use of oral contraceptives, during the premenstrual phase of the menstrual cycle, postpartum and during the perimenopause (see review: ). describes the variety of disturbances in biological rhythms observed in mood disorders. In this report, we describe the chronobiological disturbances observed in female-specific mood disorders, namely, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, pregnancy and postpartum depression and menopause. We hypothesize that changing reproductive hormones, by affecting the synchrony or coherence between components of the circadian system, may alter amplitude or phase (timing) relationships and thereby contribute to the development of mood disorders in predisposed individuals.

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