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Many people erroneously believe that a joyful event never leads to depression. Official statistics state that about 10 to 15% of new mothers experience serious psychological disorders after childbirth (some sources put the figure at 40%). Unlike prenatal depression, postnatal depression is more frequent and much more damaging.
According to scientists, this pathological condition has a negative impact not only on the mother, but also on her baby. In severe cases, mothers hurt their children and kill themselves. The long-term consequences of the disease are also quite severe. A child whose mother has suffered from postpartum depression is at greater risk of becoming an alcoholic when they reach adulthood, as well as developing multiple complexes due to low self-esteem.
What prompts the onset of postnatal depression
The development of this condition is linked to mental reactions to physiological changes that occur in the body during and after childbirth. These include loss of blood, changes in hormonal levels, lack of sleep, fatigue, a new routine, a change of attitude in relatives and friends, fear of making a mistake, lack of attention from the husband.
Other factors that play an important role include:
- Low socio-economic status;
- Difficulty during the course of the pregnancy;
- Negative life events;
- Being older than 40 years of age;
- Lack of professional education;
- A complete loss of a job before childbirth;
- alcoholism, etc.
Signs of postpartum depression
Unfortunately, postpartum depression is rarely identified and treated in most cases. This is because young mothers very rarely realise that they are ill and even more rarely seek medical help. Typically, women with this condition show signs such as anxiety, lack of energy, emotional instability, sadness and loneliness.
Patients complain of bad sleeping habits, a loss of appetite and depressed moods. They often have ideas of self-deprecation. The young mothers also experience self-pity at regular intervals. The woman feels that she is a bad mother, that she does not conform to the socially accepted ideal. This gives rise to feelings of shame.
A typical sign of postpartum depression is denial of illness and the reluctance of women to seek medical help. This is due to a deep sense of guilt. They arise during the difficulties of caring for the baby. It is this feeling that forms the basis for depression. Most mothers believe that caring for their child is solely their responsibility. This takes up a lot of physical and mental energy and the result is a feeling of helplessness that is made worse by isolation.
When does postpartum depression occur and how long does it last?
Symptoms of postpartum depression can appear as early as 3, 9 and 15 months after the birth of the child. The most frequent period for the mother is between the third and ninth months after labour. At first, anxiety, irritability and low moods begin to occur. These unpleasant feelings are accompanied by gloomy visions of the future, a grey outlook on the world and an inability to carry out everyday activities. Obsessive thoughts arise, which sometimes lead the mother to killing her children and/or committing suicide. The duration of postpartum depression depends on the woman herself. The sooner she seeks medical help, the sooner the depression can be resolved.
How to deal with postpartum depression
The treatment for depression should start with the recognition that the woman is ill and that she needs to do something about it. In the initial stages, postpartum depression is easier to deal with. In order to prevent negative emotions from taking over the mind, a few simple tips should be followed.
7 tips for dealing with postpartum depression
If you feel that the symptoms of postpartum depression do not go away and even the support of loved ones leaves you lonely at heart, seek medical help. Depression can develop into postpartum psychosis which is much harder to recover from. A doctor will be able to help you, get a treatment (art therapy, Gestalt therapy, psychoanalysis, etc.) and prevent the development of serious complications.
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