Oh yes! Baby blues is a far different condition from postpartum depression. The former is not a mental health issue, and it will go away on its own without the need for treatment or counseling. As for postpartum depression, it is a severe ailment that affects the mind of women who have just given birth. More often, these women go through a destructive phase, and various help systems are required to treat the issue.
Dina Cagliostro, PhD, distinguished baby blues and postpartum depression by saying, “Women that give birth and struggle with sadness, anxiety or worry for several weeks or more may have postpartum depression (PPD). While the baby blues tend to pass quickly, PPD can be long-lasting and severely affect a woman’s ability to get through her daily routine.”
The baby blues
Hormones and emotions are intimately intertwined which are why there is a condition called “baby blues.” Studies have shown that almost eighty percent of women who recently gave birth are suffering this roller coaster of feelings called baby blues and that’s because of their hormones. When a woman is pregnant, all her hormones are intact and ready to sustain a healthy pregnancy. But after the baby is delivered, these same hormones will rapidly drop. It is the reason why a woman who has just given birth will experience irritability, weepiness and being overwhelmed.
The baby blues condition is not an alarming issue. It will just dissipate as the mother’s body will adjust to its new role. Postpartum depression, on the other hand, affects the remaining 20% of new mothers. And this is something that needs immediate treatment. Sometimes called postnatal depression, it can also bring about the existence of anxiety problems. Mothers don’t only deal with one mental health issue, but they are trying and perhaps failing to cope with two mental health problems.
If you feel like you have post-natal depression, don’t prolong your suffering. Go to your family doctor and open up about your concerns. He will direct you to a specialist or offer advice as to what you can do. With unlimited support from family and friends, and necessary treatment, therapy, or counseling, women with post-natal depression will make it through and recover completely.
What to do if you have post-natal depression
There are ways three ways to help yourself overcome post-natal depression.
You can practice self-help techniques to beat your post-natal depression.
It is advisable for women with post-natal depression to go into therapy or counseling.
The doctor might prescribe post-natal depression meds, depending on the severity of your condition.
All the ways to help, as mentioned here, have advantages and disadvantages. Talk to your doctor about it so that you can decide which avenue is best for you. Your doctor will also have to check your medical history and physical health before prescribing medication especially when you’ve just given birth.
Depression is more common than you think, especially for women who just gave birth. It’s called postpartum depression wherein new moms have that feeling of hopelessness and helplessness a few weeks after delivery. Depression is a real illness, and it’s plaguing more or less 10 percent of Americans in the country today.
The Thin Line That Borders Grief And Postpartum Depression
A mother is grieving for her lost baby minutes, hours or months after he’s born very heartbreakingly for us. For the mother, though, the pain of her loss can be devastating. After all, her body went through all the changes needed – physical and hormonal – to accommodate the baby only to lose that bundle of joy she anticipated for so much to death.
With this said, only a thin line stands between grief over a baby’s loss and postpartum depression. The former can morph into the latter. How will we be able to know when to let a bereaved mother grieve over what she lost and when to draw the line and call for help?
“Always so happy and cheerful, uncle. She’s amazing.” I said to him.
“That’s because we’re on vacation. She is on a high, all happy and fired up. But once we get home, it will be depressive phase all over again.” He said to me with sad eyes.
“What do you mean uncle? Is auntie suffering from depression?” I asked him.
“Not just depression. Your auntie has bipolar disorder.” He said with a firm voice, and you can feel his concern.
Bipolar disorder. My favorite aunt has a mental health condition. What happened to her? I researched about the illness, and this is what I found out.
What is a bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a mental health issue that impacts a person’s moods. At one time, the person can be thrilled and manic, overactive and at a state of high. After that, you need to expect a downhill of emotions, usually the extreme or opposite of overjoy which is depression. The person will then become so down and lethargic.
Statistics of people with bipolar disorder in the US
Studies show that at least 5.7 million American people have bipolar disorder. It is about 2.6% of the population, according to the National Institute of Mental Health and it usually occurs to people over 18 years of age.
How to live with bipolar disorder
The disorder can interfere with a person’s everyday life. It is because of the moods which are so extreme, and it’s so difficult to manage, at times. Who can cope with being super joyful and jumping up and down with happiness today while tomorrow, you can be overly depressed, hopeless, helpless and maybe even suicidal? It is not a joke. This is a real problem, and it is happening.
“Manic episodes can be brief, but there is such a long tail of disruption to one’s life — the money spent, the affairs had, the cars crashed, the bosses alienated,” said Michael Otto, PhD, professor of psychology and director of the Translational Research Program at the Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders at Boston University. “Early intervention can head off the destructiveness of those episodes.” If you want to live a healthy life, you have to will yourself to get better and focus on bipolar disorder treatment.
Treatment options for people with bipolar disorder
There are medications called “mood stabilizers” that can regulate a manic episode, hypomania (or a lesser state of mania), and clinical depression. These prescription drugs must be taken daily without fail by the person with bipolar disorder to work correctly. Ask your therapist or certified bipolar disorder specialist for this option, if it will be the best approach for you.
Medicine to primarily treat depression may also work for someone with bipolar disorder. Signs and symptoms of manic episodes and depression may be curbed as it occurs.
Psychotherapy is also a treatment option for people with bipolar disorder. Talk therapy helps in dealing with depression, and one can even learn of ways to improve their behavior. “The first line of intervention for bipolar disorder is medication,” said Simon A. Rego, PsyD, ABPP, ACT, chief psychologist at Montefiore Medical Center and associate professor and director of psychology training of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “But some patients with bipolar disorder may have trouble complying with medication and/or dealing with the consequences of the disorder.” He added, implying that this is where psychosocial therapies can help patients.
Sleep deprivation “is one of the biggest triggers for a manic episode,” psychotherapist Sheri Van Dijk, MSW explained. She emphasized that “it’s very important for people with bipolar disorder to have a regular sleep schedule.” Sleep, regular exercise, and a healthy eating lifestyle can also do wonders for people with the condition. When a person is well-rested, it is less likely for him to be depressed. If he is involved in positive activities, he can learn to keep his good mood intact. Natural foods are also the best option in transmitting feel-good hormones to the brain compared to processed foods.
A combination of the treatment options mentioned above is the best solution.
I want my aunt to be able to manage her disorder because I love her so much. She is my second mother. And so, I went to her and hugged her tight. She was surprised by the action, but after a few seconds, she hugged me back. I told her, “You have me beside you, all the way.” Her only answer was “I know, kiddo. I love you too.”