What is Postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression, or postpartum psychosis, is a real condition that affects many women across the world. Postpartum Depression is a mental disorder in which behavioral and emotional changes occur soon after giving birth to a baby in women.
Postpartum depression, itself has no specific symptoms; it’s more accurately described as a complex set of symptoms that can manifest itself in several different ways.
A woman with PPD might have the following symptoms:
Depressed mood: feeling down and sad
Irritability ,over-reactivity: being overly sensitive to other people’s behavior and/or reacting to perceived slights in an aggressive manner
Low energy: feeling tired and drained from work or childcare responsibilities
Insomnia: Person faced trouble falling asleep
Sleep disturbances: waking up several times throughout the night and having difficulty falling asleep again
Research has shown that PPD tends to be more common among mothers than any other group of people. Many of us are familiar with the experience of “baby blues”, but PPD differs from this disorder in that its symptoms tend to be both physical as well as emotional.
Two hormones in the human body play important role in well-being. Estrogen promotes depression while progesterone encourages happiness. Some people who experience PPD may also have some other mental health issues (such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, ADHD, bipolar disorders, etc.) so it isn’t really clear what causes this particular kind of depression.
There are many theories surrounding the causes of PPD but none that agree on a definitive cause for all episodes (although many scientists think some sort of physiological change occurs which triggers the episode).
Since there are still so few studies on how psychological factors influence PPD we don’t know exactly what happens inside our bodies when we feel depressed or anxious but we do know that these emotional changes affect our bodies differently than when we feel happy or energized.
Risk Factors for PPD
PPD is a common disorder that affects around 2 in every 1000 women. It is characterized by major mood changes, including depression, anxiety, and irritability.
The DSM-5 classifies it as a disorder that occurs after the birth of a child and is often associated with other mental health issues like anxiety disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
• Major mood changes (including depression)
• Irritability, restlessness, and fatigue may also occur
The DSM-5 note that there are multiple risk factors for PPD:
Biological factors like genetics and hormonal changes,
Psychological factors like personality characteristics and disorders (such as addiction), Environmental factors such as relationships with family members or significant others where stress increases the risk of PPD symptoms increasing or worsening, and lifestyle factors including diet and exercise.
Postpartum Depression Symptoms and Signs
For the first few weeks after giving birth, most women have a lot of stress, but that stress is often kept at bay by the new responsibilities of motherhood. After a few months though, things start to get a bit more difficult.
The birth of a child impacts the human body in many ways. They can be life-threatening and long-lasting. And that’s before you get to the psychological side effects — which can be just as disabling — and the physical health problems associated with postpartum depression (PPD).
In this post, we will look at ways to identify symptoms and signs of PPD and some ways to help alleviate or prevent it.
Postpartum Depression (PPD) is a mental condition that follows the new mother’s experience after giving birth, and the good news is that it is common and treatable. There are two kinds of PPD:
• The Postpartum Depression Syndrome (PDS), consisting of physical symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, insomnia, and low mood;
• Postpartum Anxiety Disorder (PAD), It consists of anxiety which is generally not associated with a physical problem.
These questions are commonly asked by doctors to diagnose PPD
• Do you feel depressed or hopeless?
• Do you have any negative thoughts about the baby?
• Do you have trouble sleeping?
• Have you had faced difficulty in concentrating on jobs or problems remembering things?
If any or all of these questions sound familiar, it’s probably PPD. Not everyone who has PPD will ever get treatment (some sufferers can’t stop their symptoms), but many do. Treatment for PPD can take several forms.
They include psychotherapy and medication. In some cases, interventions may be combined with talk therapy to address both mental health issues and physical symptoms like fatigue. Many natural remedies were also helpful in postpartum depression.
One such remedy is called St. John’s Wort, which helps regulate moods by stimulating the brain’s chemical levels that produce serotonin and norepinephrine (see this drug review).
Other natural remedies include valerian root extract and hop oil extract, which has been shown to help treat depression caused by hormones like estrogen during pregnancy as well as by stress during pregnancy or after childbirth.
Some women report that they experience relief from depression after taking vitamin B6 supplements which are found in foods like red ginseng root extract when taken in high doses over several weeks before delivery; however, studies have not yet shown if these supplements prevent the onset of PPD or make it less likely to happen later on in life.
Medical professionals also recommend using antidepressants for treating postpartum depression because they do not interfere with hormones like estrogen that play a role in managing emotional well-being.
Many people who suffer from postpartum depression continue to feel depressed even years after giving birth because their body hasn’t yet adjusted to having a newborn baby around all the time. The exact cause of postpartum depression remains unknown but one theory is that it stems from the sudden hormonal changes during pregnancy.
Treatment for Postpartum Depression
Successful treatment for PPD depends on the nature of the symptoms and the patient’s response to therapy. For example, a woman who is depressed because she is sad or worried may be able to relieve those feelings by talking about her feelings and finding other ways to cope with stress.
She may need to take prescription medication, such as Prozac (fluoxetine) or Zoloft (sertraline), in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Likewise, some women with PPD may no longer feel depressed after they have given birth; they might begin to experience less anxiety and worry.
The diagnosis and treatment of postpartum depression in women, including things like medications, psychological therapy, and other treatments.
Conclusion and Key Points
Some women go through a period of episodes of depression immediately after giving birth of a child. It’s not uncommon for some mothers not to feel like themselves right away, and for it to take a few weeks or months for that to change.
The issue is that there is no diagnostic test specifically designed to detect PPD, so screening instead relies on supportive and non-judgmental interventions. The most reliable guidelines are developed by the American Psychological Association (APA) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
These suggestion based on the recommendation of the “Mother’s Postpartum Depression Scale” (MPDS), which was developed by Dr. Susan M. Wertheim in 1982 based on her clinical experience. The MPDS includes items like: “I feel moody or irritable”, “There are times when I don’t feel like myself”, “I get angry easily”, and “I feel sad often”.
While this list doesn’t cover all PPD symptoms, it does provide a good overview of what can be expected from patients during this transitional period. Here are some other useful resources: