Psychiatric aspects of women's health
A number of psychiatric disorders are present exclusively or more commonly in women. Furthermore, within a particular disorder there may be significant gender differences across demographic and clinical variables, and neurobiological fluctuations across women's menstrual and life cycles may affect the psychobiology of disorders and the pharmacokinetics of pharmacotherapies. Indeed, exploration of gender may serve as a useful heuristic for advancing the field as a whole and for integrating epidemiological and psychobiological data. In this supplement, we highlight three issues that fall under the rubric of 'women's mental health': premenstrual dysphoric disorder, pharmacotherapy during pregnancy and lactation, and violent trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder in women. Although further work across the range of basic, clinical, and sociopolitical fronts is needed, advances in the pharmacotherapy of premenstrual dysphoric disorder, recent safety data on certain agents in pregnancy, and progress in the management of post-traumatic stress disorder provides cause for clinical optimism. © 2000 Lippincot Williams & Wilkins.