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You may have already heard the term “Postpartum Depression.” Although it’s not a highly talked about subject, it is important for new and expecting parents to be aware of what postpartum depression is. The 4th Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines postpartum depression, also called postnatal depression, as depression which occurs within 4 weeks after childbirth. It can affect both men and women, including women who have experienced a miscarriage. Postpartum depression can last anywhere from several months to even a year.

Unfortunately, the causes of postpartum depression cannot be pinpointed. Many believe it is a combination of hormonal changes, social and psychological adjustments, and other environmental factors. This disorder is physical and is not self-induced by any means. As many women who have suffered from postpartum depression know, it is not something that they can just “get over.”

According to http://www.sbpep.org/ possible symptoms of Postpartum Depression include, but are not limited to:
• Exhaustion or insomnia
• Anxiety, tension, panic
• Irritability
• Hopelessness, tearfulness
• Poor concentration, memory loss
• Rapid mood swings
• Obsessions, frightening recurring thoughts
• Lack of enthusiasm
• Self-doubt, low self-esteem
• Eating disturbances
• Feeling distance/removed from or lack of love for baby and/or partner
• Thoughts of harming self and/or baby

If you think you or a loved one may be suffering from postpartum depression you should seek professional help. Postpartum depression is treatable. They type of treatment depends on the symptoms suffered and their severity.

Here are a few tips that can help alleviate some feelings of postpartum depression. First, become informed. Once you understand postpartum depression it will be much easier to treat it. After educating yourself on postpartum depression, reach out for support. It is important to share your feelings with a nonjudgmental person. There is plenty of support available both online and offline in the form of groups, publications, and events that are devoted to helping families deal with postpartum depression. A healthy diet, ample sleep, and exercise are also a key to success in fighting this disorder. If no improvement is seen, seek the help of a professional. Prescription medication can be given if needed.

Please know that if you are experiencing signs of postpartum depression, you are not alone. Many men and women suffer from postpartum depression, but that does not mean that they have to suffer silently. For your health and the health of your child, please seek treatment for postpartum depression. Do not hesitate to call if you have any questions or concerns about postpartum depression because as always, Stark Women’s Center is here for you!

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