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Postpartum Depression (cont.)

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What are causes and risk factors for postpartum depression?

Similar to many other mental health conditions, there is thought to be a genetic vulnerability to developing postpartum depression. Rapid changes in the levels of reproductive hormones that occur after delivery are thought to be biological factors in the development of postpartum depression. Interestingly, men are also known to experience changes in a number of hormones during the postpartum period that can contribute to the development of PPD. Also, the stress inherent in caring for a newborn is a considerable factor.

Further risk factors for developing postpartum depression include marital problems, low self-esteem, and a lack of having social support before and after the birth of the child.

What are postpartum depression symptoms and signs?

Symptoms of postpartum depression begin within four weeks after having a baby and include the following:

  • Feelings of severe sadness, emptiness, emotional numbness, or frequent crying
  • Feelings of irritability or anger
  • A tendency to withdraw from relationships with family, friends, or from activities that are usually pleasurable for the PPD sufferer
  • Constant tiredness, trouble sleeping, overeating, or loss of appetite
  • A strong sense of failure or inadequacy
  • Intense concern and anxiety about the baby or a lack of interest in the baby
  • Thoughts about suicide or fears of harming the baby

Postpartum psychosis occurs much more rarely and is thought to be a severe form of postpartum depression. Symptoms of that disorder include the following:

  • Delusions (false beliefs)
  • Hallucinations (for example, hearing voices or seeing things that are not real)
  • Thoughts of harming the baby
  • Severe depressive symptoms
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/30/2014

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Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/postpartum_depression/article.htm

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