What is Postpartum Depression (PPD)?
Approximately 10 percent of mothers suffer from postpartum depression following the birth of a child. According to the Mayo Clinic, postpartum mood troubles (called the ‘postpartum blues‘) can be a fairly common part of the birthing process as part of the strains commonly associated with new parenthood. Individuals with this syndrome report a more severe and long-lasting impact on mood, reporting intense feelings of anxiety, sadness, detachment, apathy, and depression in the weeks after delivery. Many new mothers with PPD experience a wide range of emotions in the form of mood swings. Some may experience particularly intense symptoms that cause them to withdraw and lose interest in life and family. For many physicians, the duration or intensity of these symptoms are the determining factors used to diagnose postpartum depression.
PPD and Chemical Imbalances in the Brain
The Archives of General Psychiatry recently released the results of a study titled “Elevated Brain Monoamine Oxidase A Binding in the Early Postpartum Period” that suggests that monoamine oxidase A (a brain protein) is associated with postpartum depression in the early postpartum period. Monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) aids in removing chemicals that stabilize mood. This small study looked at how dietary supplements could aid in treatment and lower the risks of this form of depression.
Treatment is available to mothers to help manage symptoms associated with depression after having a baby. These treatments may include the use of antidepressants, counseling, and hormone therapy. New mothers who feel they might be suffering from postpartum depression should consult with a doctor immediately. Many side effects of postpartum depression are considered medical emergencies. If you are a new mother and you feel harmful, suicidal, or violent thoughts or feelings, you must seek medical help immediately.