What is Postpartum Depression (PPD)?
Postpartum depression (PPD) is a type of depression that is prevalently observed in parents following the delivery and that is accompanied by anxiety symptoms.
The depressive type of postpartum depression is observed in nearly 10-15% of new mothers. The severity of postpartum depression varies from person to person. While it has quite a mild progress in some parents, some may experience severe crying spells, severe depression and loss of appetite.
Causes of Postpartum Depression
PPD is not caused by a single factor. It occurs as a result of the combination of many biological, psychological and cultural reasons. One of the most important causes of PPD is the serious fluctuations observed in the hormone levels of women throughout the gestation, and during and after the delivery. New mothers are likely to feel exhausted and insufficient due to the changes in the thyroid hormone, which regulates and produces many hormones.
As per the studies, sudden changes in hormone levels are positively correlated with PPD. Many factors, such as an unplanned gestation experience, an intensive sense of responsibility, chronic sleep disorder, environmental stress, and lack of partner support, are among other reasons that could cause mothers to suffer from postpartum depression.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
Although they resemble in terms of symptoms, one should not mistake PPD for puerperal sorrow. Puerperal sorrow can be seen within the postpartum 24-72 hours and last for up to 1 month, while PPD lasts for at least two weeks and can continue for up to one year.
Postpartum Depression Can Also be Seen in Men
PPD is observed not only in new mothers but also in fathers. According to the JAMA journal, 7 to 10 percent of new fathers can experience PPD. Young fathers with a history of depression, who have financial problems and are not in good terms with their spouses, are generally affected by PPD more.
What is the Treatment of Postpartum Depression?
As in other types of depression, PPD can also be treated. Psychotherapy, antidepressants (usually SSRI group of drugs) or a combination of psychotherapy and antidepressants are the most common treatment methods. Behavioral therapy is predominantly used in the treatment of PPD. Psychotherapy gives an insight to the client, enables the client to recognize the triggers that bring about the symptoms and teaches the client how to cope with these triggers.