Postpartum Depression is a mental illness and mood disorder that usually occurs in women during the first year after childbirth. It interferes with one’s daily life and consists of feelings of depression or disconnection from your baby. These symptoms may range from mild to severe.
It is important to note that developing Postpartum Depression is not your fault. Pregnancy and childbirth bring a variety of physical, chemical, and emotional changes, which may increase feelings of anxiety or depression. Hormone levels are known to rise during pregnancy, and then drop suddenly after giving birth. This is thought to trigger some cases of Postpartum Depression. In addition, the stress of taking care of a baby or going through childbirth may lead one to develop this disorder.
Somewhere between 70 to 80 percent of women who give birth will experience, at the very least, the “baby blues”. Of these women, some will go on to develop full-fledged Postpartum Depression. A recent study indicates that as many as 1 in 7 women experience Postpartum Depression in the year after giving birth. This is almost 600,000 instances of diagnosed Postpartum Depression each year.
What are the symptoms of the “baby blues”?
Many new mothers may experience “baby blues” after giving birth. The baby blues usually sets in within the first two or three days after childbirth, and may last for two weeks.
Signs and symptoms of baby blues may include:
Depression and sadness
What are the symptoms of Postpartum Depression?
Many people initially confuse Postpartum Depression for baby blues because of the similarity of the symptoms. However, the symptoms of Postpartum Depression are more severe and last much longer, sometimes up to even a year after childbirth.
Postpartum Depression symptoms include, but are not limited to:
Depression and sadness
Withdrawal from family and friends
Sleeping too little or too much
Lack of appetite
Fatigue or lack of energy
Feelings of worthlessness or inadequacy
Anxiety and panic attacks
If left untreated, Postpartum Depression can last for months or longer.
What is Postpartum Psychosis?
Postpartum Psychosis is much rarer Postpartum Depression, occurring only in 1 or 2 out of every 1,000 deliveries. Postpartum Psychosis usually starts showing symptoms within the first two weeks after childbirth.
Those with a personal history or a family history of Bipolar Disorder or other psychotic illnesses are at the most risk of developing Postpartum Psychosis. That said, it can also happen to women who have no previous experience of mental illness. In most cases, admission to a hospital is necessary, but Postpartum Psychosis is 100% treatable.
Some warning signs and symptoms of Postpartum Psychosis include:
Obsessive thoughts involving your baby
What causes Postpartum Depression?
While there is no single cause of Postpartum Depression, there are several physical or emotional issues that play a role.
Hormone levels. After giving birth, estrogen and progesterone levels quickly drop. This may trigger mood swings.
Sleep deprivation. Many mothers experience sleep deprivation during the childbirth experience, which leads to discomfort and exhaustion, only fueling the symptoms of Postpartum Depression.
History of depression. If you have either a personal or family history of depression, you have a higher risk of developing Postpartum Depression.
Stress. Giving birth can be stressful enough, but relationship or family issues may add extra stress and make developing Postpartum Depression more likely.
Can fathers get Postpartum Depression?
Yes, new fathers can experience Postpartum Depression (sometimes referred to as Paternal Postpartum Depression). Young fathers, or those with a history of depression, are most at risk to develop postpartum depression, but it may also affect fathers who are experiencing relationship problems or financial problems.
Fortunately, many of the treatments effective in combating Postpartum Depression in mothers can also help Postpartum Depression in fathers.
When should I seek treatment?
If your symptoms persist even after two weeks, or are making it difficult to take care of yourself or your baby, you should reach out to your doctor and get help.
Many mothers (or fathers) with Postpartum Depression may be embarrassed to admit it. It is important that those suffering from Postpartum Depression or Psychosis schedule an appointment with their healthcare professional as soon as possible.
What treatment options are available?
Medication. Your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant or another medication to help with your Postpartum Depression symptoms.
Counseling. Meeting with a psychologist or mental health professional may help you learn to manage your negative thoughts.
Ketamine Infusions. An innovative new treatment option, IV Ketamine Infusions at your local Ketamine Infusion Center may help you find relief.
How can Ketamine Infusions treat Postpartum Depression?
Ketamine was first approved by the FDA as an anesthetic, but has been used as a depression treatment since 2006. Infused at a low dose from an IV into the bloodstream, Ketamine has been shown to improve depression in 75-80% of patients. Spravato, an antidepressant nasal spray based on Ketamine, has also recently been approved by the FDA for treatment-resistant depression. If you or a loved one is suffering from Postpartum Depression and has questions about Ketamine treatment, we invite you to call us and schedule a free phone consultation to decide if Ketamine infusion therapy is right for you.