Women's Mental Health
Dr. Burt specializes in women’s mental health, including the areas of:
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
- Psychiatric treatment for women transitioning through menopause
- Psychiatric treatment for women and couples experiencing major life transitions: divorce, widowhood, career changes, retirement, new onset illness
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), or severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS) comprises physical and emotional symptoms occurring in the second half (the late luteal phase) of the menstrual cycle and remitting within the first day or two following menstruation. Treatment involves careful diagnostic evaluation, generally by prospective documentation of daily symptoms over a two-month interval. PMDD is frequently diagnosed provisionally, and treatment commences while prospective daily ratings are in progress. Mild premenstrual symptoms may be responsive to nonpharmacological interventions, while more intense symptoms are well-managed with medications that are generally well-tolerated.
Psychiatric treatment for women transitioning through menopause
As women move from the childbearing years to menopause (the “perimenopause”), they are at risk for depression, often complicated by anxiety and agitation. Although such symptoms may arise for the very first time perimenopausally, often they represent relapses or recurrences of prior episodes of mood dysregulation. Treatment comprises a combination of psychotherapy to address the very understandable emotional difficulties associated with physical changes arising at a time when psychosocial roles are changing (not just of the perimenopausal woman, but also of the members of her intimate and extended family), job and career issues may be an issue, and frequently medical concerns may arise. If difficulties compromise function, pharmacologic management in combination with psychotherapy is extremely helpful.
Psychiatric treatment for women and couples experiencing major life transitions: divorce, widowhood, career changes, retirement, new onset illness
Women are twice as likely as men to experience depression over the course of their lives, and this increased rate begins at puberty. Thus, for women, as they move through their lives their risk for depression and anxiety increases with each stressor – for some women the premenstrual days increases the risk for mood instability, for others postpartum presents a huge emotional challenge and is often fraught with emotional difficulties at a time when childrearing and other responsibilities are greatest, and for still others the years leading up to menopause are risk periods for serious mood difficulties. Overlying these physiological stressors, women are often faced with being the caregivers not just of their children, but their spouses and partners, parents and in-laws – all this while often trying to maintain their jobs and careers. Is it any wonder that as they move through life, women often benefit from treatment by a psychiatrist with expertise in life changes and transitions – one who can hear and empathize with their situation, and is equipped and knowledgeable to provide help through these difficult times so that once again one can emerge from crisis with renewed positive energy and optimism.