Postpartum Depression – How Do I Know If I Have It?
Postpartum Depression can be a frustrating and painful condition. During the first days, weeks, and months of your baby’s life, postpartum depression can rob you of many of the joys of motherhood. Statistics suggest that as many as one in eight women experience postpartum depression. But, how do you know if you have postpartum depression?
There are specific symptoms that occur with postpartum depression. These symptoms generally appear as early as one day after delivery up to three or four months after delivery. They can include:
- Anxiety or agitation
- Weight loss
- Suicidal thoughts
- Frequent or unexplained crying
- A loss of pleasure
- A lessened interest in sex
- Difficulty making decisions
- Difficulty concentrating
- Pains in the chest
- Shortness of breath
- Frequent headaches.
Postpartum depression is a serious condition, and should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. If you believe that you may be suffering from postpartum depression, you should speak with your health care provider, therapist, counselor, psyciatrist or psychologist as soon as possible. These experts can help you know if you have postpartum depression, as well as put you on the path to treating it.
Some of the most reliable treatments for postpartum depression are anti-depressant medications. Some antidepressants, such as Zoloft, Anafranil, and Norpramin, have been determined to be safe for a woman who is breastfeeding. Others antidepressant medications, such as Paxil, may be more questionable. However, if postpartum depression is severe enough that it is interfering with a mother’s role in caring for her child, stopping breastfeeding to take an antidepressant may be the lesser of two evils.
Another possible treatment for depression of any sort is therapy. This can take the form of almost anything, from psychoanalysis to counseling to cognitive-behavioral therapy. By talking to a psychologist or therapist, many women have had success managing the symptoms of depression. Talk therapy does not make the feelings of depression go away; rather, it helps the mother develop the tools that she needs to keep those feelings in check.
In addition to these treatments, there are a variety of other factors that may help a woman manage postpartum depression. A strong social structure, beginning with a supportive husband, can be a tremendous weapon in the fight against postpartum depression. These types of support can range from helping out with housework to taking care of the baby for a while so that the new mom can get some well-deserved rest.
The most successful treatment of post partum depression will likely include a combination of these methods. Therapy, antidepressant medications, and a social support structure all together will exponentially increase a woman’s chances of dealing with postpartum depression successfully. If you believe that you are suffering from postpartum depression, you should contact your health care provider immediately. If left untreated, post partum depression can be seriously debilitating and even lead to worse conditions, such as postpartum psychosis.