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New Research Links Hot Flashes to Depression

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New research confirms what we here at Integrative Psychiatry have observed clinically for decades:  hot flashes and other vasomotor symptoms are associated with depression.  This comes as no surprise to us and is wholly consistent with our core treatment philosophy of psycho-neuro-immunology (PNI).  Although difficult to say (modern medicine does such things on purpose), PNI is easy to understand.  In brief, PNI purports that your genes, early life experiences, contemporary life stressors, and current lifestyle habits collude to bring about progressive imbalances among your various biologic systems including neurotransmitters, adrenal output, hormones (thyroid, reproductive, endocrine, etc.) and immune activity to cause your symptoms. 

For a more detailed review of PNI and how it fits into our philosophy at Integrative Psychiatry, please see my previous blog - “Integrative Psychiatry:  Putting Together the Pieces of Modern Mental Illness.”

Back to hot flashes and depression.  We have known for some time that normal fluctuations – premenstrual, post-partum, peri-menopausal periods – in reproductive hormones (estrogens, progesterone, testosterone) can cause mood symptoms in some women.  This is believed to be mediated in part by otherwise unsuspected deficiencies in serotonin and GABA.  Hence, the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to treat PMS, PMDD, and post-menopausal hot flashes. 

Of course, it’s not quite that simple.  Your symptoms are mediated by complex and intricate imbalances among reproductive hormones, neurotransmitters (GABA, serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, glutamate, histamine, etc.), thyroid, vitamin D, adrenal output, immune activity, and more.  That is why, as part of a comprehensive and personalized treatment approach, we usually test for your specific imbalances. 

After all, your psycho-neuro-immunological makeup is as unique as you are. 

Click the link below to learn more about our PNI test profiles. 

Related Products

NeuroEndocrine Profile-Neurotransmitter, adrenal, and hormone function test for those with hormonal issues such as PMS,PCOS, peri-menopause, menopause, low sex drive, muscle loss, weight gain, hair loss, fatigue, decrease in bone mass. It is also used for those  suffering with depressed or high mood, anxiety, panic, insomnia, obsessiveness, PTSD, pain, chronic fatigue, psychosis, memory impairment, attention and focus issues.


Vasomotor symptoms are associated with depressive symptoms in community-dwelling older women.

Zeleke BM, Bell RJ, Billah B, Davis SR. Menopause. 2017 Jun 19.


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