Postpartum Depression: Signs and Symptoms

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Postpartum depression is a severe mental illness that occurs before or after childbirth. About 1 in 7 new mothers experience postpartum depression. It is more severe than ‘baby blues’ and requires therapy or medications as treatment.  Postpartum depression can occur anytime after delivery.  This clinical depression is a result of a combination of factors like hormones, emotions, genes and environment. Giving birth to a baby is a huge physical and mental trauma. Most often all these factors affect the mind and causes severe depression.

The symptoms of postpartum depression are several. You can feel extreme sadness and hopelessness. There might be bouts of crying for no reason. Also trouble sleeping, lack of appetite and losing interest in everything are few symptoms.  Feeling too restless or too lazy can also be symptoms. Keep reading to know more about postpartum depression.

Ultimate Guide for Postpartum Depression: Causes, Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

post partum depression

What is postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression is a clinical depression that is related to pregnancy. It is a mood disorder that can severely interfere with the daily activities of life. According to American Psychiatric Association postpartum depression can occur during pregnancy or after giving birth. Mostly postpartum depression occurs in the first 3 weeks after giving birth. Postpartum depression can affect any woman giving birth, even if it is not her first experience of being a mother.

Causes

  • Hormones are the primary factor causing postpartum depression in women. Your hormonal levels usually rise when you are pregnant. After the baby is born, the levels drop suddenly. This sudden fluctuation can trigger postpartum depression in most of the women.
  • Physical exhaustion and lack of sleep can also be the cause of postpartum depression.
  • A history of clinical depression can also cause postpartum depression in women. If a woman has suffered from clinical depression before, she is more likely to experience postpartum depression.
  • Excessive stress and mental anxiety can bring about postpartum depression in women. If you are not entirely happy with your pregnancy or there are family problems, you can have postpartum depression. Stress is an important contributing factor to postpartum depression.
  • A history of alcohol or substance abuse also triggers postpartum depression in women. Drug and alcohol affects the body and mind and often causes severe depression. Hormonal fluctuation during pregnancy can make the situation worse and result in severe postpartum depression.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Frequent bouts of crying for o apparent reason is a sign of postpartum depression. Feeling too emotional and sensitive can indicate you are experiencing this problem.
  • You may feel extremely overwhelmed with the responsibility of taking care of your little one. Constantly feeling inadequate as a mother is another sign of postpartum depression.
  • Feeling sad and empty all day is another symptom.
  • You can experience constant mood swing and irritability at little things in postpartum depression. This can severely affect your daily life.
  • Feeling too anxious and restless can also be signs of postpartum depression. You can also worry a lot about seemingly unimportant things.
  • Either lack of sleep or oversleeping, both can be symptoms of postpartum depression.
  • Having confusion over deciding simple things can also indicate postpartum depression in many women.
  • Poor concentration is another sign of postpartum depression. If you are unable to concentrate over anything and feel easily distracted, it can be because of depression.
  • Constantly feeling guilty about not being able to take proper care of the baby is a sign. It is an important sign of postpartum depression.
  • Lack of appetite is also a symptom of depression. A woman suffering from postpartum depression can lose interest in eating. This can have a negative impact on the health.
  • Overeating can also be a symptom of postpartum depression. Constant binging on food can be a result of mood disorder. This can also negative affect your health.
  • Losing interest on activities that used to give you pleasure before can be a sign. During depression one may lose all interest in daily life. Postpartum depression brings a constant state of gloominess in women.
  • Physical pain is also an important sign of postpartum depression. You may experience body pain, headache and also stomach ache. Pain of any kind may be a symptom. It is best to consult a doctor.
  • Avoiding family and friends is one major symptom. Postpartum depression patients isolate themselves from everyone.
  • If you have trouble forming an attachment with the baby, it can be a sign. Trouble developing an emotional bond with the baby is a sure shot sign of postpartum depression.
  • Not being able to do simple household chores because of laziness is also a sign of postpartum depression. Feeling sluggish all day is a significant symptom. This sign should not be ignored.
  • Feeling angry suddenly for no reason is one sign of postpartum depression. Uncontrollable rage about simple things is a dangerous consequence of depression. Consult with a doctor to check if you are suffering from postpartum depression.

Treatments

  • Talk therapy is a treatment for postpartum depression. Talking with a professional therapist can give excellent results. Sharing your feelings with another person can give you relief and also treat your problems.
  • Medication is another way of treating severe postpartum depression. If only counseling does not work, doctors suggest antidepressants as treatment. Antidepressants are medicines that balance the chemical released in the brain that causes postpartum depression. Taking medications for three-four weeks is usually enough to get cured completely.
  • Sometimes the postpartum depression may be too acute for therapy or medications. In that case, electroconvulsive therapy is applied. In this treatment, electric current is passed through the brain that brings chemical changes in the brain. This can reduce postpartum depression symptoms.

Conclusion

Postpartum depression is a serious mental disorder. It is extremely common in pregnant women, before and after giving birth. Postpartum depression has several symptoms. It is important to get treated for this mental illness. Ignoring the symptoms can lead to severe complications. In extreme cases, postpartum depression can lead to postpartum psychosis. This is an even more serious mental illness and can also make a person suicidal. If you feel you are experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression, immediately consult a doctor. Proper therapy and medications can cure this problem.

References

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/postpartum-depression-facts/index.shtml

https://www.webmd.com/depression/postpartum-depression/understanding-postpartum-depression-basics#2

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0163834304000398

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