Not all that much was known about postpartum depression and other depressive disorders that may be triggered by childbirth until just the last few decades. In fact, it was often referred to as the ‘baby blues’ and dismissed as something the sufferer would just have to ‘get over’. This group of depressive disorders is now known as postpartum depression, a real and separate depressive disorder, and is believed to affect as much as 25% of new parents in the United States.
The symptoms of postpartum depression, or PPD, do not always become evident immediately after childbirth, but might show up several months after. Nor is this condition limited to or only experienced by women. It is believed that as many as 25% of new fathers can be affected by postpartum depression related symptoms. However, this occurrence of symptoms, indifferent of sex, makes it difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of the condition. Many professionals in the medical community believe that it is in some way caused by hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy. Another possible physical cause investigated by the medical community is malnutrition, characterized by the lack of certain vitamins, but no direct evidence has been found thus far. Additionally, any physical changes that occur in all female bodies during pregnancy do not fully explain why this condition only affects a small percentage of new mothers, and provide no explanation whatsoever for this condition being present among males as well.
The symptoms of post-partum depression are very similar to those of other depressive disorders. Any person affected by the condition will often experience periods of overwhelming sadness, lack of motivation, and low self-esteem. They may be easily irritated, but inconsolable, and may have difficulty controlling their outbursts of anger. Furthermore, all these general symptoms may be accompanied by a constant feeling of inadequacy when it comes to taking care of and raising one’s child, which can often lead to very serious consequences later on. Therefore, whenever one believes they, or their significant other, may be experiencing post-partum depression, it is very important to address it as soon as possible. There are several different forms of treatment available, ranging from mood stabilizing medications to psychotherapy that may greatly improve the overall wellbeing of the patient and help manage the depressive state until it passes and their mental condition improves.