Apart from diseases equally affecting all population groups, there are the ones that develop only in certain kinds of patients. For instance, women can suffer from various conditions associated with pregnancy and childbirth. Postpartum depression is the most common of all postpartum disorders. According to statistics, postpartum depression develops in about 13% of women who have given birth (Gaillard et al. 341). Postpartum depression is a prevalent problem of females that appears after childbirth, and it demands professional interference and treatment in order to avoid complications for mothers and newborns.
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Definition of Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression has many explanations, but the usual way of referring to this disease is linked to psychological problems. The condition is defined as a bipolar or depressive disorder “with peripartum onset” (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders xvi-xvii). Most commonly, postpartum depression develops within four weeks after childbirth (Gaillard et al. 341). This illness is associated with high maternal mortality and morbidity, as well as with “pervasive effects on the emotional, cognitive, and behavioral development of the child” (Gaillard et al. 341). Thus, the disease is rather serious, and it is crucial to research its symptoms and causes in order to come up with viable solutions for its elimination.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
Generally, signs of postpartum depression do not differ much from any other mental disorder. Symptoms are concerned with emotional vulnerability and low physical activity. In particular, women suffering from postpartum depression experience extreme sadness and hopelessness and the loss of interest in the things they usually enjoy (Robinson et al. 214). Other symptoms include excessive crying, troubles with falling asleep or staying awake, and problems with concentration. Besides, women suffering from this disorder frequently feel exhausted and have eating disorders (Robinson et al. 214). The latter may vary between the loss of appetite and eating too much. Thus, when a patient notices one or several of these signs repeatedly, she should consider checking for postpartum depression.
Causes of Postpartum Depression
The most common reason for postpartum depression is the combination of emotional, hormonal, environmental, and genetic factors. Hormones play an important part in a woman’s life both during pregnancy and after childbirth (Yim et al. 107-110). The increased incidence of postpartum depression is noted in women who had any type of depression or anxiety in the past. Yim et al. emphasize the role of environment and cultural background as the cause of postpartum depression (102). In particular, it is noted that family structure, support from the close people, cultural beliefs concerning childbearing, and religious views may affect the woman’s state.
Treatment of Postpartum Depression
The approaches to managing postpartum depression are similar to those employed during any other type of depression. The most typical methods are the use of psychotherapy and antidepressant treatment (O’Hara and McCabe 391-395). The choice of treatment strategy depends on the severity of symptoms. Antidepressants are less favored by physicians since the substances present in them enter the breast milk. Thus, the cost-benefit analysis is performed before prescribing such medicine. What concerns psychotherapy, it frequently brings good results, especially when family therapy is involved.
Postpartum depression is a severe disorder affecting nearly one in seven women after giving birth. This mental disorder may have diverse symptoms that develop within four weeks after childbirth. Treatment options are individual, and the method is selected by the physician depending on the severity of a woman’s condition. It is crucial to manage postpartum depression to avoid negative effects on a woman and her baby.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5th ed., American Psychiatric Publishing, 2013.
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Gaillard, Adeline, et al. “Predictors of Postpartum Depression: Prospective Study of 264 Women Followed During Pregnancy and Postpartum.” Psychiatry Research, vol. 215, no. 2, 2014, pp. 341-346.
O’Hara, Michael W., and Jennifer E. McCabe. “Postpartum Depression: Current Status and Future Directions.” Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, vol. 9, no. 1, 2013, pp. 379-407.
Robinson, Monique, et al. “Low Maternal Serum Vitamin D During Pregnancy and the Risk for Postpartum Depression Symptoms.” Archives of Women’s Mental Health, vol. 17, no. 3, 2014, pp. 213-219.
Yim, Ilona S., et al. “Biological and Psychological Predictors of Postpartum Depression: Systematic Review and Call for Integration.” Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, vol. 11, no. 1, 2015, pp. 99-137.