By Dr. Aimee Harris-Newon, Psy.D., DABPS, C.HT.
New moms face enough challenges after childbirth without suffering from depression, but sometimes the symptoms happen no matter the efforts to stop them cold. If they’re mild and short-term, they’re called the “baby blues.” If they’re more severe and long-lasting, you may be experiencing the first signs of postpartum depression.
WHAT IS POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION?
“Postpartum depression (PPD) is a mental health illness that affects women after giving birth. For some women, it is normal to feel the “baby blues” for a few weeks after giving birth. With postpartum depression, feelings of sadness, loneliness, worthlessness, restlessness, and anxiety last much longer than a few weeks.”
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION?
Mood swings starting a few weeks after childbirth are normal, sometimes paired with short bursts of anxiety, sadness, and irritability – these are all part of what some people call the “baby blues.” Symptoms that are more severe and last for several months could be the first signs of postpartum depression. In most cases, the symptoms begin anywhere from a few weeks to six months after giving birth – but have started during pregnancy, which is rare. In other cases, postpartum depression may not happen until a year after childbirth. Some cases are treated with new therapies like ketamine infusion.
Symptoms of postpartum depression include:
- You feel sad, hopeless
- You feel worried, scared, panicked
- New moms sometimes blame themselves unnecessarily
- You cry a lot
- Feelings of moodiness
- Abnormal sleeping patterns, too little or too much
- Changes in eating habits
- Problems concentrating
- Removing yourself from your family or social events
- Feeling detached from your baby
WHAT CAUSES POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION?
Like other mental illnesses, postpartum depression has more than one cause. Some are similar to causes for other kinds of depression, but others are unique to women during and after pregnancy, including:
- Hormonal changes that a woman experiences after a baby is born
- Environmental and other changes, some of which you can manage (dieting) and some you can’t no matter how hard you try (loss of sleep due to a newborn baby’s eating and sleep patterns, and the stress of taking care of a newborn)
- Previous episodes of postpartum depression
- Depression not caused by pregnancy
- Severe premenstrual syndrome
- A stressful relationship or marriage
- Lack of social support
- Stressful events during or after pregnancy like being severely ill during pregnancy, premature birth, or a problematic delivery)
ARE THERE OTHER KINDS OF POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION?
Decades of careful research and patient interaction have taught us there are several kinds of depression, each with their own categories and often unique symptoms. The same holds true for postpartum depression, which is why the medical community has sub-categorized it into smaller types with symptoms ranging from acute to severe, short to mild:
- Postpartum Blues (also known as “baby blues”) is the most widespread postpartum mood disorder, affecting about 50 to 85 percent of women who give birth. Symptoms are normally short-term and don’t hinder a woman functioning day to day
- Postpartum Anxiety is sometimes misdiagnosed or brushed aside because people assume new moms have anxiety no matter what. It’s characterized by high tension and stress, and the inability to take it easy or relax.
- Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder surfaces when a new mom is obsessed with cleanliness and compulsively scrubs down the baby’s crib or changing station, among other examples.
- Postpartum Panic Disorder is characterized by severe stress levels in about 10 percent of women after childbirth. It may include symptoms like shortness of breath and heart palpitations.
- Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder affects about nine percent of women after pregnancy and involves a perceived threat of danger to the mom or baby. Symptoms may include a difficult pregnancy, delivery by C-section, or the baby ending up in a hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit.
Finally, postpartum psychosis is very rare, affecting only about one percent of all women following pregnancy. It’s often characterized by delusional thoughts, hallucinations, extreme agitation, confusion, hyperactivity, and poor judgment. Women who suffer from postpartum psychosis nearly always require medication like ketamine or hospitalization to learn to control its symptoms.
TREATMENT FOR POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION
In many cases, a gynecologist, general practitioner, or therapist will diagnose postpartum depression and recommend treatment which often begins with psychotherapy. Sometimes the symptoms can be controlled with ketamine infusion therapy. In the worst-case – postpartum psychosis, where imaged threats of danger or violence have materialized; you can expect hospitalization.
Postpartum depression and its various sub-types indicate a serious mental health illness which too often goes without treatment. The consequences of heroically brushing it aside can be severe for the new mom, her baby, and family and friends. If you think you’re suffering from depression or another disorder, get help.
If you or a loved one have questions about the clinical use of ketamine we can help. Contact us today to learn more about the innovative new treatments available at Premier Infusions.
About the Author
Dr. Aimee Harris-Newon Psy.D., DABPS, C.HT. is a double board certified integrative and interventional psychologist, entrepreneur, author, speaker, and master success coach. She’s considered an expert in integrative health and believes in a holistic approach-treating the body and the mind. She leads a very successful integrative and functional health and wellness practice, serving clients locally and internationally. She and her multidisciplinary team focus on wellness, preventive care and coaching to help people live healthier, happier and more satisfying lives. What makes her truly unique and exceptional is her broad and deep skill set and her approach to health and wellness.
As the founder and director of Dr. Aimee and Associates, and now The Center for Integrative and Functional Health and Wellness, Dr. Aimee Harris-Newon and her team of experts don’t just treat symptoms, they solve health problems, create better outcomes and change lives.
As a coach, Dr. Aimee Harris-Newon has worked with individuals and corporations including FedEx, UPS, McDonald’s, Red Bull and the U.S. Army. She is a frequent speaker at Harvard and regularly appears on television news shows such as ABC, NBC, and FOX. Dr. Aimee Harris-Newon also hosts the popular radio show, Mind Over Matters on AM 820, which airs every Sunday morning at 10 a.m. CST.
For more info visit https://www.thecifhw.com/