Clinical issues in perinatal mental health: new developments in the detection and treatment of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders

Authors


Marie-Paule Austin, Department of Liaison Psychiatry, Prince of Wales Hospital, High Street, Randwick, NSW, 2031, Sydney, Australia.
E-mail: m.austin@unsw.edu

Abstract

Objective:  This paper presents evidence of new developments in the detection and treatment of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders that have relevance for clinicians.

Method:  An electronic search was conducted in MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsychINFO and The Cochrane Library Database for the interval 1995–2005 for papers published in English.

Results:  New developments were identified as follows:
i) Broadening frames of reference within perinatal mental health.
ii) Impact of disorders upon offspring.
iii) Identifying women at risk of mental health problems.
iv) Prevention and early intervention strategies.
v) Treatments.

Conclusion:  Perinatal mental health is a rapidly expanding field that impacts upon the health and wellbeing of all members of families with infants and young children. An evidence base for best practice is slowly emerging but considerable work is still needed in relation to the identification of women at risk, standardisation of diagnostic procedures, reduction of adverse outcomes for women and infants, prevention, early intervention, and treatment of clinical disorders.

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