Postpartum Depression – When Can It Happen?

First off, let’s make this perfectly clear: postpartum depression is very real. It is hard for most men to conceptualize, but it is an actual form of clinical depression which affects women both during and after childbirth. Minimizing it by dismissing it as hysterical overreaction or “baby blues” risks a dangerous situation.

Having Depression History

Women who are the most at risk for postpartum depression are those who fit any of the following: They have a history of depression or substance abuse, a family history of mental illness, have little or no support from family and friends, have anxiety, have had problems with previous pregnancy or birth, have marital or financial problems, or are of a young age.

postpartum depression

postpartum depression

In addition, studies have shown that in the United States, African American women have a significantly greater probability of experiencing postpartum depression, even when other factors such as age, income, education, marital status, and the baby’s health were screened out. Nobody knows exactly why, but the theory is that there is racial tension in the United States that contributes to this.

Additionally, women from other minority groups, including lesbians and bisexuals, also had a higher risk. It could be that the general social conservatism and xenophobia of United States culture is leading to all non-White people who do not embrace American Evangelical Christianity to feel that they are not welcome, and thus their children would not be welcome as well. It is, after all, naturally more stressful to try to raise a family in a nation that is home to the Ku Klux Klan, if you’re one of the people it doesn’t like.

Throughout the whole world, there has also been a high co-relation between a woman’s chances of experiencing postpartum depression and her social class; the women in lower social classes with fewer support resources had greater depression.

Symptoms of PPD

Now, as for the symptoms, any of these are signs of postpartum depression, although some of them can occur during pregnancy as well: sadness, hopelessness, low self-esteem, sleep and eating irregularities, rejecting comfort, low energy, feelings of emptiness or worthlessness, being easily frustrated, and social withdrawal.

It is thought that all of the symptoms and aspects tie together into concern for the well-being of the family one is creating, both for oneself and the offspring. However, there are strong chemical factors are work as well. Hormonal changes have a strong role to play in postpartum depression, with a high risk for it if the mother also suffers from a severe case of premenstrual syndrome.

In further consideration of the hormonal factors, studies were conducted on women who had a history of postpartum depression. Upon being treated with a hormone treatment which merely simulated pregnancy, the women began exhibiting several signs of postpartum depression, even when they weren’t actually pregnant! This tells us that there may in fact be two different types of postpartum depression – one with a social or situational cause, and one with a biological cause.

As always, we must stress that this is not a doctor’s opinion. If you think you or someone you know may be suffering from postpartum depression, you should seek the advice of a doctor instead of relying on a web page.

If you are suffering from PPD, you may take a look at this page to know how long does postpartum depression last.

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