What is Postpartum Depression? What Are Its Causes And Treatment
You might have heard about “baby blues.” But, many people tend to think of it as nothing more than light anxiety that every parent gets after having a new baby.
Well, if you’re one of those people, then this article should serve as a way towards correcting yourself. Baby blues are usually reasonable for a new mother, but sometimes, the blues can get a little severe. And the severity, in medical terms, is known as postpartum depression.
So, what is postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression is an issue not to be overlooked as it might bring some serious health problems in the mother, and also the father in some cases. But, what’s the actual difference between baby blues and postpartum depression?
Baby blues and postpartum depression may be mistaken for the same in their initial phases, but the significant difference between them is their longevity and severity. Symptoms of baby blues last only for a few days after the birth of your baby. And the symptoms are not severe. Some signs of baby blues include:
- Mood Swings
- Feeling Overwhelmed
- Reduced Appetite
- Irregular Sleep
However, the symptoms of postpartum depression are much more severe and also last a lot longer than baby blues’ symptoms do. Some of its symptoms might include:
- Severe Mood Swings
- Difficulty bonding with your baby
- Disconnecting from family and friends
- Fear of not being a good mother or father
- Severe anxiety and panic attacks
- Suicidal thoughts
- Diminished concentration
Fathers, Too, Get Postpartum Depression
Fathers, just like mothers, no matter how tough they try to act, might experience postpartum depression. And, not that it needs saying, the symptoms for fathers experiencing postpartum depression are the same as mothers.
It can occur in men who are young and men who have a history of depression. It also might be triggered in men who have had relationship problems in the past, and have faced financial struggles in their lives.
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So, it is recommended for both men and women, who think that their partner is experiencing postpartum depression, to consult a doctor as soon as you start getting doubts.
But When To See Doctor?
Well, it is not common for people to be reluctant to admit that they are experiencing depression or any other mental health complications, for that matter. And people especially overlook the symptoms of postpartum depression, taking them for usual baby blues.
But, how long do the symptoms last? When do you start considering a visit to the doctor?
The following symptoms mean that the patient is experiencing postpartum depression. Visit a doctor as soon as possible if you see notice any of these given symptoms:
- Depression doesn’t fade away even after two weeks of having the baby
- Symptoms are hindering your everyday task completion
- Anxiety and depression are getting worse than the initial phases
- Symptoms are making it difficult for you to care for your baby
- Symptoms cause self-harm and suicidal thoughts
Causes Of Postpartum Depression
As the name suggests, postpartum depression is caused after the birth of a baby. However, there are some specific issues after a child is born that play a role in causing postpartum depression.
- Physical changes - Hormonal changes such as a dramatic drop in estrogen and progesterone might contribute to a person experiencing postpartum depression. In addition to estrogen and progesterone, other hormones produced by the thyroid gland might also add to the symptoms, causing you to feel depressed, tired, and slow.
- Emotional issues - Childbirth is a hard job. You might go through several sleepless nights and be overwhelmed by the arrival of your child. Childbirth also causes self-doubts and anxiety. These issues might contribute to a person experiencing postpartum depression.
Treatment For Postpartum Depression
As with any other kind of depression that human beings experience, the treatment of postpartum depression is of two types - medication and therapy.
Postpartum Depression (Photo: VectorStock)
After your doctor diagnoses you, he/she might use either one or both of these methods for treatment. Anyone of these treatments can be used individually, but they usually are more effective when used in a combination.
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Along with medication and therapy, it is also important to tweak your daily routine towards healthier habits for quick recovery.
However, your doctor can treat you only for the symptoms that you tell him/her. So, it is also essential to maintain open communication with your doctor for better and quicker recovery.
Things to avoid while recovering from postpartum depression:
- Alcohol, as it is a depressant
- Taking excessive responsibilities
- Isolation (this doesn’t mean you can not have some alone time with yourself, but keep track of your alone time.)