Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is a form of Post partum depression which can affect women, and less frequently men, after childbirth. Postpartum depression can make you feel restless, anxious, fatigued and worthless. Unlike the “baby blues,” postpartum depression does not go away quickly. Very rarely, new moms develop something even more serious.

They may stop eating, have trouble sleeping and become frantic or paranoid. Women with this condition usually need to be hospitalized. Symptoms typically last from a few hours to several days, and include tearfulness, irritability, hypochondriasis, sleeplessness, impairment of concentration, isolation and headache.

The maternity blues are not considered a postpartum depressive disorder. Postpartum depression is depression that occurs soon after having a baby. Some health professionals call it postpartum nonpsychotic depression. Although many women get depressed right after childbirth, some women don’t feel “down” until several weeks or months later. Depression that occurs within 6 months of childbirth may be postpartum depression.

There may be a number of reasons why a woman gets depressed. Hormone changes or a stressful life event, such as a death in the family, can cause chemical changes in the brain that lead to depression.

Profound lifestyle changes brought about by caring for the infant are also frequently claimed to cause PPD, but, again, there is little evidence for this hypothesis. Sometimes a pre-existing mental illness can be brought to the forefront through a postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression can be hereditary. Women with severe premenstrual syndrome most commonly suffer from postpartum depression. Post-partum depression may lead mothers to be inconsistent with childcare. Women diagnosed with post-partum depression often focus more on the negative events of childcare, tending to make themselves have poor coping strategies.

For postpartum blues, no specific treatment may be necessary because the condition goes away by itself. If the cause of PPD can be identified, treatment should be aimed at the root cause of the problem.

Causes of Post partum depression

The common causes and risk factor’s of Post partum depression:

  • Life stress.
  • History of previous depression.
  • Infant temperament problems.
  • Low socioeconomic status.
  • history of genetic mental illnesses.
  • Substance abuse.

Symptoms of Post partum depression

Some sign and symptom related to Post partum depression are as follows:

  • Decreased interest in sex.
  • Feeling restless or irritable.
  • Crying a lot.
  • Eating too little or too much.
  • Loss of energy.
  • Loss of interest in activities.
  • Weight loss.

Treatment of Post partum depression

  • Psychotherapy for the woman and her family can be very helpful in enhancing coping skills, educating them on caring for a newborn, and providing support.
  • Antidepressants drugs such as fluoxetine, sertraline, paroxetine, citalopram (Celexa),  escitalopram, or venlafaxine (Effexor) may be given for as long as a year.
  • Other medications that might be used include lithium or valproic acid.
  • Other still unproven therapies include the use of bright light and nutritional therapy.