Nine Signs of Post-Partum Depression

Nine Signs of Post-Partum Depression

Parenthood comes with a great amount of stress, happiness and emotional upheaval. After giving birth many women, up to 50% according to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), experience postpartum blues, a period of highly active and reactive emotions. Although named the “blues,” this period is often one of happiness mixed with fluctuating emotions and crying. Postpartum blues typically ebb within the first week of giving birth, but when they do not, they can become postpartum depression. Ten to twenty percent of women experience postpartum depression, depression lasting up to six months after giving birth, so although this is a serious and distressing condition, it is not unusual or untreatable (JAMA, “Postpartum depression,” February 2002).

Postpartum Depression Symptoms

Signs of postpartum depression often mimic those of regular clinical depression, but according to the American Psychological Association, nine signs of postpartum depression include the following:

  • Disinterest in the baby
  • Fear of not being a good parent
  • Fear of being left alone with the baby
  • Feeling worthless or unable as a parent
  • Constant anxiety or panic attacks
  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Uncontrollable crying or mood swings
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Frightening thoughts of hurting yourself or the baby

Those who experienced depression or anxiety prior to becoming pregnant or giving birth and those with limited social support are more likely to develop postpartum depression, but even the best-prepared mothers can find themselves experiencing any or all of the symptoms listed above. While social and genetic factors play a role in how or why this form of depression develops, it is also related to the natural, abrupt hormonal changes that can result after giving birth.

Treating Postpartum Depression

Do not avoid the problem or evade your feelings if you are struggling with postpartum depression. Any mental health concern can worsen if left untreated. New mothers may be tempted to keep their depression secret thus putting themselves and their newborns at risk. Talk with friends, family members and mental health and physical health professionals about what you are feeling. Postpartum depression is not a sign of failure as a parent; it is a common reaction to childbirth and new parenthood. If you speak up and take action, you can manage the symptoms of postpartum depression and be a caring and effective mother. If you ignore the signs of postpartum depression, you may develop long-term depression or unhealthy coping mechanisms such as drug abuse or engagement in addictive or dangerous behaviors. Don’t miss out on the joys of motherhood. Call us today to find understanding and professional resources for treatment of your mental health concerns including postpartum depression, depression and substance abuse or addiction. We are here for you 24 hours a day, so please don’t wait to give yourself and your new family the lives you deserve.