After 9 months of pregnancy, hours of labor, childbirth, sleep deprivation,
nursing, and radical lifestyle changes, is it any wonder that 7 of 10 new moms
get "the baby blues"? The good news is that this generally resolves without
treatment within 2 weeks. One in ten women, however, may develop postpartum
depression, a medical disorder deserving medical and psychotherapy. Symptoms
include sleep disturbances, excessive weeping; irritability, anger and hostility,
headaches, overwhelming exhaustion, mood swings, profound guilt, lost appetite,
poor concentration, and feeling unable to care for your children. The good news
about PPD is that it can be successfully treated with antidepressant
medication and therapy. This doesn't mean you're crazy: it means you are being
responsible, taking steps to give your baby with what it needs most-a healthy
mom. And, it doesn't last forever: it often runs its course within 6 months.
Postpartum depression should NOT be confused with the popularized extremely
severe cases of postpartum psychosis. This is a very rare form of postpartum
mental illness that involves hallucinations and clearly psychotic behavior.
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Created: 9/28/2001  - Donnica Moore, M.D.