In England, around one in five women is currently experiencing a common mental health disorder such as anxiety or depression. The symptoms of these, among other mental health concerns, may worsen during or just after major life events, such as having a baby or menopause as well as at various points in one’s menstrual cycle.
Additionally, differences in the way women and men process information may affect how susceptible they are to developing mental health disorders and how their symptoms manifest. Most of the available research at present is still predominantly based on historic research conducted on male subjects, and so women often run the risk of being misdiagnosed or lacking a diagnosis where one is warranted. For example, women tend to have a better recall of emotional information and are therefore more likely to develop disorders related to emotional memories such as PTSD. Similarly, women suffering with PTSD experience more intrusive emotional memories, and so the salience of that symptom may be more relevant to look for in women than in men.
At the Sloane Court Clinic, we are sensitive to all concerns regarding women’s health and are cognizant that it may be more challenging to receive support for some women-centric difficulties. Our clinicians and administrative team alike, are aware and understanding of the challenges that many women face such as dealing with harassment, inequality in the workplace and difficulty getting diagnoses for some conditions which are often less talked about.
PMS, PMDD and issues surrounding menstruation:
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is an endocrine condition characterised as a combination of physical and emotional symptoms experienced by some women in the week or so leading up to their period. Common symptoms include mood swings, greasy skin and hair, stomach disturbances and changes in appetite and sex drive. Help is available if these symptoms are negatively affecting your quality of life in the form of talking therapies, hormone profiling and management or implementing some changes to diet or lifestyle.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), has recently come into the spotlight and is an extreme form of PMS. For those with PMDD, symptoms of PMS tend to be much more extreme and daily functioning is severely compromised, which is a problem even if temporarily so.
Common characteristics include:
- Feelings of anxiety and/or depression (some as extreme as suicidal thoughts)
- Feelings of anger/ excessive irritability
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Extreme mood swings
- Sore joints/ muscles
- Tender breasts
- Difficulty concentrating
This disorder is hormonal and can be difficult to identify as it’s symptoms fluctuate and are typically only detrimental in the week preceding one’s period. If you feel you may be living with PMDD, it is important to remember help is available to try to alleviate your symptoms and could greatly improve your quality of life.
Although menstruation may come with a host of surrounding issues, those who suffer from a lack of periods are susceptible to related distress. We are also able to provide support for those with amenorrhea, regarding the emotions this may bring up.
Perinatal mental health pertains to those that arise during pregnancy or in the first year post-partum. Managing women’s mental health both before and after pregnancy is crucial aspect of perinatal care. Our team is experienced in assessments of mental health issues that may arise post-partum, such as post-partum depression, as well as assisting in the management of existing mental health difficulties throughout pregnancy and beyond.
Although not exclusively a mental health disorder affecting women, they are up to three times more likely to suffer from and eating disorder in their lifetimes compared to men. Across all research, it is agreed that the most significant predictor of successful recovery is early intervention. For this reason, we recommend seeking help promptly if you have any concerns at all regarding your relationship with food.
Certain challenges arise with being a woman, that are often less openly discussed. These include potentially dealing with gender pay gaps, inequality in the workplace, harassment and not being taken seriously when seeking healthcare. It is very important to note that not all women face these challenges and they are not necessarily experienced by women exclusively. These issues can trigger a host of emotional responses, for which we are well equipped to support you with.
We have an expert team of Consultant Psychiatrists, Clinical Psychologists and Psychotherapists who are well versed in helping manage challenges in women's health.
Contact and Appointments
If you are seeking an appointment with a psychiatrist, you should discuss this first with your GP to obtain a referral. Referrals are also accepted from clinical psychologists and counsellors.
Once you have your referral, please do contact us via our Enquiry Form and one of our team will be in touch without delay.
Overseas referrals are warmly welcomed. We do also see individuals without a family doctor (GP), and we can help you find a private or NHS family doctor.