Postpartum Depression, Psychosis & Blues
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The birth of a baby can trigger a jumble of powerful emotions, from excitement and joy to fear and anxiety. But it can also result in something you might not expect depression.
Postpartum Blues occur within the first 2 to 3 days after delivery. Postpartum Psychosis is a rare condition that can occur within the first week of childbirth. If the postpartum blues last for a longer period of time it leads to postpartum depression.
Postpartum Blues is defined as a feeling of sadness, anxiety, stress, loneliness, tiredness or weepiness after childbirth.
Baby blues typically begin within the first two to three days after delivery and may last for up to two weeks.
About 1 out of every 10 of these women will develop a more severe and longer-lasting depression after delivery.
Symptoms of Postpartum Blues
- Mood swings
- Crying spells
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Reduced concentration
- Appetite problems
- Trouble in sleeping
Postpartum psychosis, a condition that may involve psychotic symptoms like delusions or hallucinations, is a different disorder and is very rare.
Postpartum psychosis is a rare condition that typically develops within the first week after delivery.
About 1 in 1,000 women develop postpartum psychosis
Symptoms of Postpartum Psychosis
Symptoms can include:
- Hallucinations – hearing, seeing, smelling or feeling things that are not there
- Delusions – thoughts or beliefs that are unlikely to be true
- A manic mood – talking and thinking too much or too quickly, feeling “high” or “on top of the world”
- A low mood – showing signs of depression, being withdrawn or tearful, lacking energy, having a loss of appetite, anxiety, agitation or trouble sleeping.
Sometimes a mixture of both a manic mood and a low mood – or rapidly changing moods.
- Loss of inhibitions
- Feeling suspicious or fearful
- Feeling very confused
- Behaving in a way that’s out of character
- Confusion and disorientation
- Obsessive thoughts about your baby
- Attempts to harm yourself or your baby
Postpartum psychosis may lead to life-threatening thoughts or behaviors and requires immediate treatment.
Postpartum depression (PPD) is defined as a combination of physical, emotional, and behavioral changes that happen in some women after giving birth.
Postpartum depression may be mistaken for baby blues at first but the signs and symptoms are more intense and last longer, and may eventually interfere with your ability to care for your baby and handle other daily tasks.
According to the DSM-5, postpartum depression is a form of major depression that begins within 4 weeks after delivery.
Postpartum depression isn’t a character flaw or a weakness. Sometimes it’s simply a complication of giving birth. If you have postpartum depression, prompt treatment can help you manage your symptoms and help you bond with your baby.
PPD can be treated with medication and counseling.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
Signs and symptoms of depression after childbirth vary, and they can range from mild to severe.
Symptoms usually develop within the first few weeks after giving birth, but may begin earlier during pregnancy or later up to a year after birth.
Postpartum depression signs and symptoms may include:
- Depressed mood or severe mood swings
- Excessive crying
- Difficulty bonding with your baby
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual
- Inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much
- Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
- Reduced interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
- Intense irritability and anger
- Fear that you’re not a good mother
- Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy
- Diminished ability to think clearly concentrate or make decisions
- Severe anxiety and panic attacks
- Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
Untreated, postpartum depression may last for many months or longer.