Postpartum Depression – An Overview
Of late, there are a lot of cases of depression being reported across the globe what with today’s stress levels and hectic pace of life. Depression post child birth has seen a rise in the past few decades and is clinically termed as postpartum depression or post natal depression. Anything from a mild to severe depression can be labelled so and it is a condition that needs to be monitored for and treated if necessary. Through the entire process of childbirth, a woman undergoes a lot of duress; she battles physical changes, surging hormones, mood swings and many such things. Even though it is an exquisite yet a painful feeling, some women experience mild to severe depression after child birth. The exact causes of postpartum depression are as yet unknown but there are several indicators and possible causes for the same. Read on to learn about the causes, symptoms and treatment options for postpartum depression.
What are the Causes of Postnatal/Postpartum Depression?
The exact factors that result in postpartum depression aren’t known as yet. However, there are a few possible causes of postpartum depression
. These are:
- Hormonal changes that cause mood swings
- Physical changes in the body
- Sleep deprivation
- A sense of loss of freedom and having to take care of the baby all the time
- Parenting worries
- Lack of a support system
- Feeling less attractive due to the physical changes
In fact, some men too experience postpartum depression and this could be because of having to provide and care for the infant and worries associated with parenting. In a woman though, it could be due to any of the above factors or completely different factors. The causes are, as yet, not clearly understood medically. However, there are a few symptoms to look out for in cases of postpartum depression.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
There are a lot of signs of postpartum depression. Here are some of the most common ones.
- Lack of interest in the child
- Negative feelings and (or) indifference towards the baby
- Feeling worthless, guilty and unattractive
- Lack of motivation, interest and concern be it in one’s self or the baby or everything
- Suicidal notions
- Feeling extreme emotions – overwhelming sense of pressure or guilt or irritation
- Being afraid of changing and not being able to be one’s old self
- Hopelessness, disconnect and numbness
- No bonding with the baby
- Being afraid to ask for help
- Changes in appetite
Watching out for such symptoms in the first whiff of trouble can help in taking the right steps towards treating the condition.
How to Help a Mother With Postpartum Depression?
There are a variety of treatment options available for postpartum depression that involve medication and (or) psychological therapy. Support groups and spousal support is essential in treating the condition and ensuring that it doesn’t recur. There are some therapies such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and IPT (Inter Personal Therapy) that have been found to be useful as ways to deal with depression. A few tips that have proven to be effective while battling post natal depression are:
- Support from family
- Expressing one’s feelings and talking to one’s partner – it can help in easing the stress levels
- A lot of rest and help from family in handling the baby can work in many cases.
- Medication has worked to alleviate the stress levels in a few cases and may be prescribed if deemed necessary.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
It is possible to prevent this condition altogether with adequate family support during pregnancy. This sort of depression usually sets in when the mother feels too overwhelmed and begins to wonder if having to plan for a child was a mistake. If the woman finds adequate support and care during and after pregnancy, such worries and stress factors can be avoided and it will be easy to beat the blues or prevent them from setting in altogether.
Most new mothers experience postpartum depression. Catching it early, treating it right and providing new mothers with the right kind of support and love is essential to treat the problem. If left untreated, the depression can stay on for months and make it a traumatic period for both the mother and the baby. On the other hand, with the right kind of care the problem can be caught early and battled away easily!