After having a child, many women experience what is called the “Baby Blues”. This is normal and is caused by the changing hormones. However, sometimes the blues don’t go away and it turns into postnatal depression. If you feel you are suffering from this, speak to your medical professional as soon as possible. Recovering from post natal depression can take a long time, but help is out there.
Postnatal Depression Causes
PND causes aren’t fully understood. It is believed that some women have a predisposition that makes them more likely to develop this type of depression. Others believe it is because the drop in hormones is so sudden that a complete short-circuit of the brain happens. Others still understand that PND is simply “one of those things”.
Postnatal Depression Symptoms
The symptoms of postnatal depression are very much like the symptoms of regular depression. There is a lack of energy and a lack of wanting to do anything. Post often gets left unopened and the house work doesn’t get done. Many women with PND also find that they struggle to bond with their child, which is even worst in cases of post-partum psychosis, where women are prone to physically hurt their children. It is important to recognize the postnatal depression signs, which can be quite difficult because of the baby blues. If, however, the baby blues go on for more than a week, it may be worth speaking to a medical professional.
The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale
The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) is a simple questionnaire with only 10 items that allows a medical professional to determine the likelihood of a woman experiencing PND. The EPDS looks into feelings of guilt, levels of sleep, suicidal tendencies and more.
PND Treatment – Advice and Support
First and foremost, you have to start by recognizing that there is a problem. Once you have done this, it will be far easier to actually look for help. Make sure you have the support of your partner, your friends and members of your family.
In order to access this help and support, you have to be able to discuss your feelings with those around you. If you bottle it up, you will cause tension that could potentially make the situation worse. It is also common for women who don’t talk about their condition to start arguing with their partners.
It is also possible to receive support from counselors or social workers. There are also various self-help groups, particularly online, that can be incredibly beneficial. It can be reassuring to meet others with the same condition, which demonstrates that you are not alone.
PND Treatment – Exercise
Exercise is a great way to deal with depression, because it releases dopamine and other feel good hormones. You may want to take on the services of a personal trainer or simply go the gym.
PND Treatment – Psychological Treatment
There are various types of psychological treatment that can be used by women with postnatal depression as well, particularly those who have mild to severe symptoms. Psychological treatment comes in various forms, including:
• Guided self-help, which is where your medical professional teaches you how to help yourself. This can be done through guided audio programs, or through reading books.
• Talking therapy, such as cognitive behavior therapy, which is where you discuss your feelings, either in a group or on a one-to-one basis. This will allow you to find a positive manner to deal with your feelings. Besides cognitive behavior therapy, interpersonal therapy is also used.
PND Treatment – Antidepressants
Women are also often prescribed anti-depressants to deal with postnatal depression. However, this treatment is not available to breastfeeding mothers, who would then pass on the medication to their infants.
Medication such as this is only recommended if:
• A history of depression exists and the depression is mild
• The depression is severe
• Counseling and therapy has not worked