Recognizing Postpartum depression signs and symptoms
By: Julie Fletcher
Recognizing and Coping With Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression can strike any woman, any time after birth. Some women suffer from baby blues, a feeling of sadness after giving birth, but postpartum depression is much more severe in nature than the baby blues and can last for a much longer period of time. Postpartum Depression is not a shameful disease. You are not dirty and you are not alone. Treating yourself as if you are the wonderful person you are will allow you to overcome this hard time in your life. Postpartum depression and beating it is a long journey, but one that doesn't have to end in sorrow. There are many women who have beat this disease, I am one of them!
Early Signs of Postpartum Depression
Early signs of Postpartum depression or PPD may resemble those of other types of depression. Feeling more tired, sore, irritable, and unable to face the day to day activities you are accustomed to performing. Some women may not want to be around anyone, including their new baby and this is a normal feeling with postpartum depression. In some cases you may begin to think others are against you, perhaps misinterpreting things they say to you. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, which can also include loss of appetite and anger, seek medical help. Admitting you need medical help can be scary, but it is also the first step in helping yourself. You should be open with your partner, as well. In fact, talking to your partner might open avenues of help and understanding you wouldn't have had.
How To Talk With Your Doctor about Postpartum Depression
Being completely open and honest with your medical professional will speed the healing process involved with overcoming postpartum depression. No matter how 'bad' you may think your thoughts are, openly discussing them with your doctor or midwife can be the difference between life and death, literally. Many women have hurt themselves or others because they refuse to admit to there possibly being a problem. While you may not do physical harm, feelings towards your family, partner, and friends may cause a deterioration of those relationships. In many cases women have initiated divorces because they have become uncontrollably angry with their spouses for not understanding their feelings. It is very hard for someone who is not suffering from postpartum depression to understand the mental states a woman suffering this disease passes through and to anticipate the right actions or words.
Support Networks in Postpartum Depression
A support network is crucial to beating postpartum depression. Be it a group of friends, family, or an online forum, a support network can help educate the woman who is going through PPD. The support network you choose should begin with your medical professional who can point you in the proper direction to find groups in your area. He or she can also offer brochures, books, and other information regarding postpartum depression. Be sure to let those closest to you know about the PPD, educate your partner concerning the disease and the symptoms. Let them know that your words and actions stem from a disease. This knowledge will not always help lessen the pain that arguments can cause, but knowing that it can be treated might help save a marriage. If your partner is resistant to reading the information there is available to those who are living with someone suffering from postpartum depression, then perhaps you need to turn to other friends and family. Some men do not wish to admit there is anything wrong at home because they are unable to understand how to cope with their partner's changes. This is as normal as what you are experiencing. It will make things harder, but even this can be overcome with open lines of communication and another form of support.
Medications and their use in Postpartum Depression
The medications used for postpartum depression are the same antidepressants used for other types of depression. Talk in depth with your doctor about your medical history and the symptoms you are experiencing with the postpartum depression. Certain medications can actually aggravate some of the symptoms associated with postpartum depression, while others may interfere with other medications you are using. Celexa and Zoloft are two of the most common medications used with PPD.
Celexa may not be recommended to you if you are breastfeeding, while Zoloft can be taken. Zoloft, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, is from a family of antidepressants generally regarded as having a low side effect profile. It is safe enough to be used in low doses during pregnancy for some women. You should not try to stop your medication on your own if you begin to feel better. An interruption in the medication cycle can cause symptoms to return, sometimes stronger than before beginning the medication. Usually doctors prefer to 'wean' their patients off their depression medication so the body can get used to the absence of it. If you have any strange feelings or feel that your symptoms are becoming worse while taking a particular medication, talk to your doctor right away. Some medications can have very strong side effects that mimic the symptoms of postpartum psychosis a very severe form of postpartum depression.
Further research into Postpartum Depression
Your local library may also have books about postpartum depression that can help you understand what you are going through. Medical texts, first hand stories, and other information about PPD can be found at the library. If you feel too self conscious to check out books or ask for help finding them, try a Google search on postpartum depression. You may be surprised at the sheer amount of information and support forums you will find online. One very good site that is open to women suffering from PPD and to their supporters is the Postpartum Depression Community on Ezboard.