If you’re a new mom, your days may be filled with a jumble of emotions and exhaustion. You don’t know where things begin or end. But if you feel depressed all day long for weeks or months following childbirth, you may be experiencing something called postpartum depression. That said, it’s treatable.
WHAT IS POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION?
Nearly all new moms — up to 85 percent of them — have postpartum blues. They may feel elated one moment and swamped and tearful the next. According to Lauren Osborne, M.D., no mother is constantly happy because it’s typical to be upset with childbirth and sometimes need to put your newborn down for a moment. If symptoms are bad or last longer than two weeks, you could be experiencing a postpartum mood disorder, like postpartum depression.
Many symptoms of postpartum depression are treatable, with ketamine therapy being one option. You may have the condition if any of these symptoms last more than two weeks:
- Mood swings
- Mother-baby bonding issues
- Withdrawing from loved ones
- Problems eating
- Sleep troubles
- Easily tired
- Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Irritability, anger
- Not convinced you’re a good mother
- Hopelessness, worthlessness, humiliation, guilt, or failure
- Trouble thinking or making decisions
- Panic attacks
- Harmful or suicidal thoughts
Anyone in your life – a partner, children, grandparents – can come down with postpartum depression, but some women have greater odds because of a personal history of mental health or social factors. Any one of the risk factors below for postpartum depression can raise the probability of getting the condition:
- Traumatic life events, like a difficult birth
- Poor social support, such as when you’re a single mom or suffering domestic abuse
- Family or personal experience with depression
- Pregnancy or birth problems, like preterm birth or an infant’s hospitalization
- Teen pregnancy
- Giving birth to multiple babies
- Having had problems becoming pregnant
DO YOU KNOW HOW LONG POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION LASTS?
According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, “Postpartum depression isn’t the same for everyone. Researchers have found many differences in symptoms between individual women, as well as how early it starts and how long it lasts.” One government study estimated that 10 to 15 percent of adult mothers will experience postpartum depression and reiterated the need for regular post-delivery doctor appointments for at least six months following childbirth – not only to check on the baby’s health, but the new mom’s physical and mental wellbeing.
Dr. Diane Putnick from NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) said, “Our study indicates that six months may not be long enough to gauge depressive symptoms. These long-term data are key to improving our understanding of mom’s mental health, which we know is critical to her child’s well-being and development.”
Many healthcare providers call postpartum depression a major depressive disorder that normally shows up within the first eight weeks following childbirth, but it can happen anytime within a year after giving birth. And, perhaps not unexpectedly, postpartum depression affects more than just new moms. New dads can get it, too. They may appear fatigued or feel unhappy, seem overcome, have anxiety, or experience fluctuations in eating and sleeping habits ― the same kind of warning signs exhibited by new moms who experience postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression in new moms, dads, and other family members is serious but can be treated if caught in time. Recognizing symptoms is key.
DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT
Even if you believe you can self-diagnose, it’s advisable to get professional help and consult with a doctor or licensed professional who specializes in postpartum depression. Arrange a visit with a doctor if you think you’re suffering from postpartum depression. Your doctor will want to know about your feelings and symptoms. You’ll be asked how long you have felt depressed and may even be asked to fill out a questionnaire about your condition or have a blood sample taken to verify your hormone levels.
Postpartum depression is a serious problem, mostly for new moms, but it’s a condition that doctors and mental health professionals learn more about every year. What’s undeniable is the fact the symptoms can be treated if you get to them on time, sometimes with therapy, self-help techniques, or ketamine treatment. Contact us today to learn more!