Neill C. Epperson MD

Associate Professor (Adjunct) of Psychiatry; Director, Yale Program For Women’s Reproductive Behavioral Health (WRBH)

Research Interests

Breast Feeding; Depression; Gonadal Steroids; Menopause; Mental Health; Mothers; Perinatal; Postpartum Depression; Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder; Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors


Research Summary

Women experience major depression and panic disorder at twice the rate of men and are particularly vulnerable at times of hormonal fluctuations; e.g., during menses, the postpartum period, and while going through the menopause transition. Several lines of evidence suggest that psychiatric disorders occurring at these times may, in part, be hormonally driven.

Current and past research projects at WRBH have included:

  • The pharmacologic treatment of postpartum major depression.
  • The effects of maternal treatment with serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) on the development of the breastfed infant.
  • The effects of maternal depression and or an antidepressant medication during pregnancy and or breastfeeding on the developing infant as assessed at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months of age.
  • The effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for pregnant women with a history of recurrent pregnancy loss and pregnancy complications.
  • The role of neurosteroids and GABA in the pathophysiology of premenstrual dysphoric disorder, postpartum major depression, and menopausal depression.
  • The role of hormones on mood and cognition in peri- and post-menopausal women.
  • The investigation of the role of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) and glutamate in the pathophysiology of nicotine addiction and nicotine’s effects on negative affect by conducting 1H-MRS (i.e., brain neuroimaging) to measure to cortical GABA, glutamate and glutamine pre- and post-48 hours of smoking abstinence in both female and male smokers.

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