Although giving birth to a child is one of the most happy occasions, many women feel just the opposite after the experience. While some quickly get it over these symptoms, others don’t. Unfortunately, many women do not now the facts, that depression after childbirth is common, and is called postpartum depression.
What is Postpartum Depression?
According to the National Institute of Health, around 80% of mothers experience a mild postpartum depression, known as the baby blues, with symptoms appearing anytime within the first few days prior to or immediately following delivery. Symptoms of baby blues are similar to those experienced during the initial phase of moderate to severe postpartum depression, and may include feelings of heightened anxiety, irritability, reduced concentration and sadness. Symptoms associated with the baby blues go away within a week or two of onset, allowing affected mothers to feel completely relieved of symptoms without having to undergo some form of treatment or intervention.
What are Postpartum Depression Symptoms?
However, the symptoms of moderate to severe postpartum depression, referred to by the medical community as depressive disorder with peripartum, can actually manifest anytime during the first six months following delivery, according to Mayo Clinic, and last anywhere between several months to several years, and require affected mothers undergo some sort of formal treatment in order to experience relief. According to the American Psychological Association, moderate to severe postpartum depression can actually affect both men and women, with an estimated prevalence of 4-15%, respectively. In recent years, awareness for moderate to severe postpartum depression has greatly increased, due in part to the illness’ expanded media coverage from several high profile celebrity cases that include actresses Lisa Rinna and Gwyneth Paltrow, as well as model Brooke Shields.
The exact cause of moderate to severe postpartum depression is still under debate, but research has suggested several risk factors exist that may increase a woman’s susceptibility to the illness, which include: prenatal personal or familial history of depression, birth related psychological or physical trauma, previous stillbirth or miscarriage, hormonal changes, lack of spousal support, moderate to severe premenstrual symptoms, formula feeding, unwanted pregnancy and substance abuse. When it comes to moderate to severe postpartum depression among men, symptoms seemed to be triggered by most of the risk factors identified for women, in addition to worsening financial concerns, marital changes and sleep deprivation.
How is Postpartum Depression Diagnosed?
The criteria used to diagnose moderate to severe postpartum depression in women and men is the same as those used to diagnose non-childbirth related major depressive episodes, and requires the presence of at least five of the following signs for a minimum two week period, according to the National Institute of Health: feelings of sadness, worthlessness, guilt and hopelessness, loss of interest in most activities, significant changes to weight and appetite, disrupted sleep patterns, increased fatigue or loss of energy, lack of concentration or coordination of motor skills, suicidal ideations and irritability. The signs and symptoms of moderate to severe postpartum depression are also present among individuals who suffer from postpartum psychosis, a rare and more severe postpartum mood disorder, which can threaten the life of both the baby and mother if immediate medical treatment is not sought.
What is a Postpartum Depression Prognosis?
Fortunately, the prognosis for those who suffer from moderate to severe postpartum depression is quite good; in almost all instances of the illness, individuals who have sought treatment have successfully eliminated any related signs or symptoms. The treatment of moderate to severe postpartum depression are very similar to those used to treat non-childbirth related major depressive episodes, and include both pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic options. Cognitive behavioral therapy, psychotherapy and group therapy have all proven to be effective methods for moderate to severe postpartum depression treatment, oftentimes used in conjunction with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), more commonly known as antidepressants.
For those seeking postpartum depression treatment in Los Angeles, a new option is available called deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS). This is FDA-approved for depression, affordable, and proven to work. For more information, contact Westside Neurotherapeutics by phone at 310.946.0008 or online at www.westsideneurotherapeutics.com.