Postpartum depression is a devastating emotional disorder that negatively impacts a significant number of mothers every year. It’s estimated that approximately 10 to 15 percent of women suffer from some form of postpartum mood disorder (PPMD), including postpartum depression (PPD), postpartum anxiety/OCD, or postpartum psychosis. If you feel that you or a loved one could be suffering from this emotionally, and physically painful disorder, know that you are not alone, and that treatment is available to help you recover and begin enjoying your time with your new baby in positive ways.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression symptoms typically develop within the first few weeks after baby is born, but could begin up to six months after birth. While every case is different, typical symptoms of postpartum depression may include:
- Feelings of anxiety or sadness that result in pulling away from family and loved ones.
- Panic attacks.
- Unexplainable sadness that leads to seemingly unprovoked, excessive crying.
- Rapid and severe mood swings.
- Unexplainable feelings of sadness or depression.
- Uncontrollable and intense irritability and/or anger.
- Overwhelming fatigue.
- Difficulty sleeping, or wanting to keep all the time.
- The feeling of being overwhelmed, and/or unable to concentrate, think clearly, or make decisions.
- Not feeling hungry as usual, or overeating.
- Reduced interest in hobbies or typically enjoyable activities.
- Having difficulties bonding with your baby, and/or a strong fear that you are not a good mother.
- Irrational thoughts of harming yourself, or your baby.
- Thoughts of suicide or death.
Your Doctor Can Help
If left untreated, postpartum depression may last for many, painful, and sad months where you are not bonding with your baby in the ways that you’d like. In the most severe cases, postpartum depression can have devastating, deadly consequences.
If you or a loved one think you may be suffering from postpartum depression, your OGBYN can help. A variety of treatment options are available. Your doctor will customize a treatment plan that is right for you, based on your unique circumstances or symptoms. Your recovery plan may include any of the following treatments:
- Medication — Postpartum depression is caused by severe fluctuations in hormones. To treat these changes and restore balance to your system, your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant. Medication can also be helpful in improving your sleep- and appetite-related symptoms.
- Psychotherapy (talk therapy) — For many women suffering from postpartum depression, talk therapy has proven successful either as a stand alone treatment, or when used in conjunction with antidepressant medication. Psychotherapy helps women suffering from postpartum depression to work through their feelings and resolve internal emotional conflicts with the support of a trained professional.
- Support groups — Similar to individualized psychotherapy, support groups can be an effective way for women to feel the support of others with whom they share similar feelings and experiences. Support groups may be recommended in conjunction with medication.
- Inpatient treatment — In the most severe cases, such as when a woman’s postpartum depression is presenting as suicidal ideation, your doctor may recommend a more intense treatment program provided in a focused, inpatient setting. When your doctor is confident that you are not a danger to yourself, or your baby, you will be discharged for continued outpatient treatment.
The initial months after your baby is born are essential for proper emotional bonding, and developing the skills you will need to care for your baby long term. Don’t let postpartum depression interfere with those precious months. Talk to your OBGYN today and learn what your options are, not just for managing symptoms, but for treating the underlying condition that is impacting your emotional and physical well-being.
The doctors at Chouchani, Sayegh and Bagnarello take your physical and mental health very seriously. If you have been experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above post pregnancy, please schedule an appointment to talk with us.More