Postpartum depression is a form of severe depressive disorder that affects women after childbirth. Many mothers who have just given birth will experience baby blues episodes. For instance, they may have mood swings, poor appetite, feel unhappy, overwhelmed or anxious, and difficulty sleeping.
Baby blues symptoms are not severe and don’t necessarily require treatment after delivery. Also, they usually disappear within days or a week.
However, severe cases result in postpartum depression, which lasts longer. A few symptoms include feeling hopeless and even lacking interest for the newborn. Rarely, some new mothers may have severe effects such as hallucinations or try to hurt themselves or the baby, which requires immediate treatment.
Causes of Postpartum Depression
Researchers haven’t known the exact cause yet, but a few factors such as physical changes, hormonal and emotional stressors of taking care of the baby may trigger postpartum depression.
Additionally, postpartum depression can start anytime within the first year following childbirth. Women with a previous history of depression are also at higher risks.
One crucial physical factor for most women after childbirth involves hormonal changes. Pregnant women have high levels of progesterone and estrogen than usual. However, within hours after delivery, these hormones return to their normal states. The unexpected fluctuation may cause postpartum depression.
Additional physical factors that may trigger it include:
- Insufficient diet
- Underlying medical problems
- Low thyroid hormone levels
- Lack of sleep
- Alcohol or drug abuse
Many women will likely develop the symptoms if they’ve had mood disorders previously or if their family history had issues with it.
Emotional stressors may include:
- Financial challenges
- Death or divorce of a loved one
- Severe health complications involving the mother or the baby
- Social withdrawal or isolation
- Inadequate support
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
Since postpartum depression is more severe than baby blues, it can interfere with normal functionality abilities. Symptoms may also vary from person to person, which may include:
- Feeling sad and crying a lot for unknown reasons
- Social withdrawal and isolation
- Hopelessness, worthlessness, and overwhelming feelings
- Sudden change in moods without warning
- Feeling exhausted with lack of sleep or sleepiness
- High or low appetites
- Poor memory, decision making, and lack of concentration
- Easily irritated, angry, guilty, or anxious
- Lack of interest in things enjoyed before
- Different unexplained pains and sicknesses
- Constant intrusive thoughts about harming the baby or yourself
- Lose of interest for the baby
Treatment for Postpartum Depression
Usually, most women will experience worsened symptoms if they don’t get immediate treatment. Therefore, if a mother identifies the above symptoms, she should immediately consult a doctor to obtain early treatment.
Treatment for postpartum depression may include medication and therapy. Other significant measures include making the right healthy choices, such as practicing self-care, good nutrition, and exercise.
Final Words from the Recover
Obtaining early treatment for postpartum depression can improve a mother’s symptoms and renew focus on her newborn. Mothers should never underestimate immediate treatment for depressive-like symptoms since its consequences result in major depression.
Therefore, if you or your loved experience depression symptoms, ensure you visit a rehab center near you to receive professional support and treatment program that address your needs.