The psychiatric disorders of midlife.

B A Schindler, Dept. of Psychiatry, Drexel University College of Medicine


The midlife phase of adult development, once viewed as a period of stagnation and involution, is now seen as a time with the potential for significant psychologic growth and development. The concept that women's psychologic health and physical health are closely tied to her reproductive function is coming under close scrutiny. The menopause is only one variable, along with other biologic, psychologic, and sociocultural stressors, that increases the individual woman's vulnerability to several psychiatric disorders. Careful attention to the patient's presenting symptoms and the specific diagnostic criteria for psychiatric illnesses allows for accurate diagnosis and treatment and avoids the pitfall of attributing these symptoms to the "menopausal syndrome."