Postpartum depression is an often undiagnosed, but extremely serious illness that affects many women after giving birth. Part of the reason so many women do not seek help for postpartum depression is that it is completely normal for a woman to experience mood swings after having a baby. This is often called "baby blues" and usually goes away after about ten days. There is a slight amount of depression associated with baby blues. Postpartum depression is when this depression gets worse or lasts longer than ten days.
There is much confusion about what postpartum depression is. Some people believe that it is a mental problem, but postpartum depression is a disease that is treated by medications. It has a medical cause as well. While the cause of depression is not fully understood, we do know that has to do with the chemical balance in the brain.
The symptoms of postpartum depression include a lack of interest in every day life. A change in eating habits, which usually is the inability to eat, but sometimes can be overeating, will also accompany postpartum depression. A woman suffering from postpartum depression will have much less energy than normal. She will have trouble sleeping, or will sleep more than usual. She will cry easily and for no apparent reason. She will have overwhelming feelings of guilt, worthlessness, hopelessness and anxiety. Often, she will feel restless and also irritable.
Some of the more serious symptoms of postpartum depression are a desire to either harm herself or the baby. Women who suffer from serious bouts of postpartum depression are capable of committing suicide or hurting and even killing their children. Because this is so serious, it is important for people to watch a woman carefully after giving birth for any signs of postpartum depression. If the incident of depression occurs within six months of giving birth, it is classified as postpartum depression.
There are several indicators that a woman is more inclined to having postpartum depression. Women with a previous history of postpartum depression or other types of depression are more likely to get it. Also, women who have severe problems with premenstrual syndrome might be prone to postpartum depression. If the woman has a difficult marriage situation and feels that she has no one else to talk to, she is likely to suffer from postpartum depression. Finally, if the events surrounding the pregnancy and delivery of her child were extremely stressful, such as having a premature baby, she is more likely to suffer from postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression is treated like most other forms of depression. The patient will be put on a medication to control the seratonin in her brain and she will also be referred to counseling. Talking through problems often helps. It is important that the significant people in her life are willing to stand by her and support her until she feels better. It is also important for her to realize that once she starts to feel better, she can have down time from time to time.
One of the best things a woman can do to help herself recover from postpartum depression is to make sure and take some time for herself. She needs to spend time doing something she enjoys every day and taking a break from her baby, until she starts to feel more centered. It is also helpful to write down the emotions she is feeling. This will help her as she starts to get better. She needs to realize that it is perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed by all of the changes in her life. She needs not to put undue expectations on herself. No one is super mom and just being there for a baby is often all that is needed. She needs to take life one day at a time, get the help she needs and soon she will begin to see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.