DAILY / MAY 22, 2017  
Psychiatric News Update

Workshop Attendees Debate Best Options for Treating Perinatal Depression

Women are especially vulnerable to mood disorders around the time of childbirth, yet psychiatrists are less inclined to diagnose and treat potential mood problems during this perinatal period. Some suggested reasons are concerns over the effects of psychotropics on unborn children or physicians not being up to date on the latest research in perinatal psychiatry.

Kara Driscoll, M.D., a clinician at Northwestern Medicine, led a workshop Sunday at APA’s Annual Meeting that used case examples of perinatal depression to highlight some of the challenges that psychiatrists may face when treating this patient population. These cases included guidance on how to monitor medications and adjust dose as needed during pregnancy, as well as some of the different treatment options available.

“We believe that hearing about the new advances and treatments available in the context of a risk-benefit discussion for a specific patient would be more valuable to a psychiatrist than just providing a presentation on research advances,” Driscoll told Psychiatric News.

This is not the first time that Driscoll has hosted a workshop on managing perinatal depression, but she noted that every session offers something a little different, as there are always new research advances, new scenarios to ponder, and new questions posed by the participants.

The cases presented this time around involved the two ends of the pregnancy cycle; the first was a patient with a mood disorder who is interested in becoming pregnant, while the second was a postpartum woman who was experiencing first-time mood symptoms. The attendees divided into small workgroups to work out their proposals for diagnosis and treatment plans for each case, then discussed their approaches with the other workgroups to see areas of agreement and difference.

During this discussion phase, Driscoll and her panel also talked about ways that psychiatrists can engage their own pregnant and/or postpartum patients about depression or anxiety and get them involved in the decision-making process.

“Remember, about half of psychiatry patients are female and about half of all pregnancies are unplanned, so this is not an issue limited to perinatal specialists,” she said.

(Image: iStock/RuslanDashinsky)



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