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Post-Partum Depression: Counseling And Symptoms-From Carpentersville, Algonquin And Barrington

May 21, 2008
Depression is a sense of feeling sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps. Most people feel this way occasionally for short periods. However, clinical depression is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interfere with your daily life for an extended time.

Depression can be mild, moderate, or severe. The degree of depression, which your psychologist or therapist can assess, influences how you are treated. How common is depression during and after pregnancy?

Depression occurring during pregnancy or within a year after delivery is called perinatal depression. Researchers believe that depression is one of the most common complications for women during and after pregnancy.

Often, the depression itself is not recognized or treated, because some normal pregnancy changes can mimic depressive symptoms and happen simultaneously. Tiredness, problems sleeping, stronger emotional reactions, and changes in body weight may occur during and after pregnancy. However, these symptoms may also be signs of depression.

What causes depression?

There are a number of reasons why a woman gets depressed. Hormone changes or stressful life events, such as a death in the family, can cause chemical changes in the brain that lead to depression.

Depression is also an illness that runs in some families. Other times, it is not clear what causes it.

During Pregnancy

If you are pregnant, these factors may increase your chance of depression:

1. History of depression or substance abuse
2. Family history of anxiety
3. Little support from family and friends
4. Excessive worry about your fetus
5. Problems with a previous pregnancy or birth
6. Marital or financial problems
7. A particularly young or older mother

After Pregnancy

Depression after pregnancy is called postpartum or peripartum depression. After pregnancy, hormonal changes in your body may trigger symptoms of depression.

During pregnancy, the amount of two female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, in your body increases significantly. In the first 24 hours after childbirth, the amount of these hormones rapidly drops back down to their normal non-pregnant levels.

Some researchers think the fast change in hormone levels may lead to depression, just as smaller changes in them can affect your mood before you get your menstrual period.

Occasionally, levels of your thyroid hormones may also drop after giving birth. The thyroid is a small gland in the neck that helps to regulate how your body uses and stores energy from food.

Low thyroid levels can cause symptoms of depression including depressed mood, decreased interest in things, irritability, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, sleep problems, and weight gain. A simple blood test can tell if this condition is causing your depression. If so, thyroid medicine can be prescribed by a doctor.

Other factors that may contribute to postpartum depression include:

1. Feeling tired after delivery and resulting broken sleep patterns, and insufficient rest.

2. Feeling overwhelmed with the needs of your new baby and doubting your ability to be a good mother.

3. Feeling stress from your changes in work and home routines. Sometimes, women think they have to be super mom which is not realistic and can add stress.

4. Having feelings of loss of your identity, of who you are, or were, before having the baby, loss of control, loss of your pre-pregnancy figure and feeling less attractive.

5. Having less free time and less control over time. Having to stay home indoors for longer periods and having less time to spend with your partner and loved ones.

What are symptoms of depression?

Any of these symptoms during and after pregnancy that last longer than two weeks are signs of depression:

1. Feeling restless or irritable
2. Feeling hopeless and overwhelmed
3. Abnormal episodes of crying
4. Striking lack of energy or motivation
5. Eating too little or too much
6. Sleeping too little or too much
7. Having difficulty focusing, remembering, or making decisions
8. Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
9. Loss of your usual interest or pleasure in activities
10. Withdrawal from friends and family
11. Having headaches, chest pains, heart palpitations (the heart beating fast and feeling like it is skipping beats), or hyperventilation (fast and shallow breathing)

After pregnancy, signs of depression may also include your being obsessively afraid of hurting your baby or self and/or feeling strangely indifferent to him or her. If you have any of these signs contact a psychologist or physician immediately.
About the Author
Dr Shery is in Cary, IL, near Algonquin, Crystal Lake, Marengo and Lake-in-the-Hills. He's an expert psychologist. Call 1 847 516 0899 and make an appt orlearn more about counseling at: http://www.carypsychology.com
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