Postpartum Depression – Condition

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Overview

If you are expecting a child, you may be experiencing an array of strong emotions, ranging from excitement and happiness, to dread and anxiety. However, it may also result in something you would not anticipate – a state of depression known as postpartum depression.

After delivery, the majority of new mothers suffer postpartum “baby blues,” which include symptoms such as mood swings, crying episodes, anxiety, and trouble sleeping. It is common for baby blues to appear during the first two to three days following birth and may persist for up to two weeks beyond that.

Postpartum depression is a severe and long-lasting type of sadness that affects certain new mothers. A severe mental illness may occur after delivery in a small percentage of cases.

Postpartum depression is not a fault or a weakness in a person’s character. It is possible that it is just a complication of child delivery. If you are suffering from postpartum depression, seeking therapy as soon as possible may help you manage your symptoms and strengthen your connection with your child.

There are three terms that are used to describe the changes in mood that women may experience after giving birth:

Baby blues. 70% of women have “baby blues” in the days after delivery. You may experience abrupt mood fluctuations, such as feeling very joyful for a short period of time followed by feeling extremely depressed. You may weep for no apparent cause and experience feelings of impatience, crankiness, restlessness, anxiety, loneliness, and sadness. Depending on the individual, the baby blues may linger anywhere from a few hours to as long as 1 to 2 weeks following birth.

Postpartum depression. It may occur within a few days or several months after giving birth to a child. You may have emotions that are comparable to those associated with the baby blues — sorrow, despair, worry, and crankiness — but you will experience them much more intensely. PPD often prevents you from accomplishing the things you need to do on a daily basis.

Postpartum psychosis. A severe mental disorder may strike new moms at any time after giving birth. It may manifest very rapidly, often within the first three months after childbirth. Women may lose touch with reality, experiencing auditory hallucinations and delusions. Women suffering from postpartum psychosis need immediate medical attention, and require medication.

Causes

Despite the fact that there is no one specific cause of postpartum depression, both physical and mental factors may contribute to the condition.

Changes in the physical body: A significant decrease in hormone levels (estrogen and progesterone) in your body after delivery may play a role in the development of postpartum depression. Other hormones generated by the thyroid gland may also decrease precipitously, leaving you feeling fatigued, sluggish, and depressed, among other symptoms.

Emotional difficulties: When you are sleep deprived, it is possible that you will have difficulty dealing with even small issues. You may be concerned about your capacity to care for a baby. If so, you are not alone. Your physical appearance may be diminished, and you may be struggling with your sense of identity or feeling as if you have lost control over your life. Any of these problems may play a role in the development of postpartum depression.

Symptoms

It may be difficult to recognize the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression. Following childbirth, many women experience the following symptoms:

·         Having difficulty falling asleep

·         Changes in appetite

·         Excessive tiredness

·         Having a lower libido

·         Changes in mood on a regular basis

In the case of postpartum depression, they are accompanied by additional symptoms of severe depression that are not normal after delivery, and may include:

·         Being disinterested in your child

·         Feeling as though you are not connecting with child

·         Crying all of the time, and sometimes for no apparent reason

·         Depressed state of mind

·       Excessive  anger and irritability

·         Feelings of worthlessness, despair, and powerlessness accompanied with the loss of pleasure.

·         Thoughts of death or suicide

·         Thoughts of harming someone else

·        Thoughts of injuring someone else

·         Having difficulty focusing or making choices

Diagnosis

Most of the time, your doctor will question you regarding your emotions, thoughts, and mental health, in order to differentiate between a short-term case of postpartum baby blues and a more serious type of depression. Postpartum depression is a frequent occurrence, so do not be ashamed. Inform your doctor about your symptoms so that he or she can develop a treatment plan that is appropriate for you.

Your doctor may do the following tests as part of your evaluation:

·         Take you through a depression screening process that may involve having you complete a questionnaire.

·         You should have blood tests done to see whether you have an underactive thyroid that is causing your signs and symptoms.

·         Other tests should be ordered if necessary to rule out any other potential causes of your symptoms.

Treatment

If you do not get treatment for PPD, your symptoms may deteriorate. While postpartum depression (PPD) is a severe illness, it may be managed with medication and therapy.

Postpartum depression is treated in a variety of ways, depending on the severity of the symptoms and the kind of depression. Anti-anxiety or antidepressant medicines, counselling, and involvement in a support group for emotional support and education are all possibilities for treating this condition.

When to see a doctor

If you are experiencing postpartum depression after childbirth, you may be hesitant or ashamed to acknowledge it. You should see your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms of postpartum baby blues or postpartum depression and make an appointment with them. If you are experiencing symptoms that indicate you may be suffering from postpartum psychosis, get medical attention right away.

In the event that the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression become severe and include suicidal thoughts, difficulty carrying out daily activities, difficulty providing and carrying for your child, it is critical to seek medical attention immediately.