Postpartum depression can begin during the first four weeks after the birth of a child and it is far more severe than just “baby blues.”
As new mothers try to cope with the wakeful nights, uneasy emotions, and other stresses that accompany the birth of a new baby, some may experience crying, fatigue, excessive anxiety, insomnia, and unbearable sadness. These symptoms may disappear within days or weeks.
However, depressive symptoms may continue and last up to a year in some women. The symptoms include extreme sadness, despair, tearfulness, insomnia, anxiety, intrusive thoughts, compulsions, panic attacks, feelings of inability to cope, and suicidal thoughts. In such cases, postpartum depression is diagnosed and ought to be treated.
Fortunately, treatment can be successful for most women with postpartum depression. Many respond well to the same approaches that are applied to other forms of depression – antidepressant medications, cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, or a combination of these approaches.
The important factor is recognizing postpartum depression by making women aware of its symptoms so that help can be sought by a professional psychiatrist or psychologist. Whether by psychological therapy or by medication use or by a combination, treatment offers a much needed help for women that suffer from postpartum depression.