According to research, postnatal depression occurs in as many as 10 to 15 mothers for every 100 women giving birth. Its symptoms are similar to depression in which a person may feel low mood and aversion to different activities which could last for two weeks. This is very common but sometimes, mothers don't recognize the symptoms and instead wait for the symptoms to disappear but this could be more difficult for them.
Every mother is at risk for having postnatal depression. It is different from "baby blues" which is not treated and is often shorter. Having unresolved issues from your own childhood and a family who had a history of depression could be a risk for having the illness due to genetic factors. Unresolved issues from childhood could be a cause of depression and since there's a history, there is a greater chance that the illness would be triggered and go back after giving birth. Having an under-active thyroid may also be a cause of depression. However, the real cause of having this illness is still unknown.
A mother may be diagnosed as having postnatal depression when she cries very frequent for small upsets or for no obvious reason at times, longs for sleep but feeling unsatisfied every time she wakes up, has difficulty in sleeping even when the baby is asleep and has a feeling that she is not a good mother but sometimes hates herself or her baby. She easily gets irritated, has no sexual drive, has a feeling that she will not be able to cope up with activities such as housework and feels anxious most of the time. She may also lose appetite, think of negative thoughts of her unresolved childhood issues and feel tired, angry or hopeless most of the time. In serious cases, she may have suicidal thoughts and psychotic symptoms which could be very alarming.
Postnatal depression can be treated in the same way as depression. Drug treatment using antidepressants, counseling and involving in social activities are the different ways in treating postnatal depression. Talking to a doctor, midwife, health visitor or somebody about the problem is a great help. However, self-help medications can also relieve postnatal depression symptoms. Mothers can try to get enough sleep, eat and exercise regularly, relax, ask other persons to help them in doing their housework and they should never be afraid to tell their partners and family members about how they feel and if they have unresolved childhood issues. A lot of people are always ready to help.
Remember, people can and do make recoveries from depression and go on to lead their best lives imaginable. Seek help.
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