Having a baby changes a woman’s life. Despite the fact that it introduces her to a different world of happiness and joy, it also brings difficulties like sleep-deprivation, stress and even depression. Having such feelings, commonly known as baby blues, is obvious for a new mother. But if such feelings persist and begin to interfere with a woman’s everyday life, it could probably be a sign of postpartum depression (PPD).
PPD is a kind of depression that a woman develops either during her pregnancy or within four weeks of giving birth to the baby. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately one in nine women experiences postpartum depression in the United States.
While the condition is affecting many mothers across the globe, it is still being treated as a form or extension of major depression and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Therefore, this Mother’s Day, observed annually on the second Sunday of May to celebrate motherhood and appreciate mothers and mother figures, let us spread awareness about PPD and help people understand the importance of seeking help in time.
Although, it is normal for a new mother to experience baby blues, fatigue and feel scary at times, it is not normal if she begins to experience the following symptoms:
- Crying excessively without any reason
- Sleep disorders
- Eating disorders
- Unexplained aches, pains or illnesses
- Irritation and anxiousness
- Sudden mood swings
- Inability to concentrate or take decisions
- Unexplained feelings of sadness, hopelessness and worthlessness
- Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Feeling disconnected from the baby
- Desire to escape
- Disturbing thoughts about harming oneself or the baby
Even though any mother or father can develop the symptoms of PPD, there are a number of other factors that might increase its risk in a woman. Some of these are as mentioned below:
- Changed hormonal levels after childbirth
- Past experience of depression or anxiety
- Family history of mental illness
- Stress involving care for a newborn
- Adapting to new changes in life
- Having a baby who is hard to comfort
- Having a baby with special needs, such as premature birth or medical complications
- First-time, early or late motherhood
- Emotional stressors, such as the death of a loved one
- Lack of social support
- Financial troubles
PPD is different from other mood disorders
While PPD differs from other mood disorders in the way how it makes a person feel, the associated risk factors and diagnosis, there is also a major difference in the brain activity of those dealing with this disorder as compared to those who are healthy.
According to a study published in February 2017 in the journal Trends in Neurosciences, it was found that a major difference can be observed in the amygdala, the brain’s center for fear and threat response in woman affected by PPD. In people who had dealt with or are dealing with generalized anxiety and depression, the amygdala showed hyperactive response to emotional cues. Comparatively, the new mothers showed a decreased amygdala response to emotional cues, except towards the ones that were related to their infants.
Treatment for PPD
Establishing a strong bond with the baby, giving priority to one’s relationships and taking care of oneself are some of the self-help tips for PPD. Medications, therapies and counselling sessions can also serve as a great help.
If you or a loved one is suffering from PPD or any other form of mental illness, Sovereign Health’s team of experienced mental health professionals can assist you. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-973-7164 for more information about the comprehensive programs offered at our LA facility, which is one of the most reputed mental health treatment centers in Los Angeles. You can also chat online with our representatives who can connect you directly to the Sovereign Health of Los Angeles and save you from the hassle of visiting too many mental health facilities in Los Angeles.