Postnatal Depression is a serious clinical condition.
Treatment is available and recovery depends on the severity of the condition.
Postnatal depression (PND) usually starts soon after the birth of a baby but can occur in the months following the birth. It is important to distinguish the difference between PND and 'baby blues', which is a brief episode of tearfulness that affects at least half of all women following delivery, especially those having their first baby.
Some women may feel tearful and experience symptoms of depression, while others can experience feelings of inadequacy or worthlessness which if left untreated could result in the mother losing interest in her baby.
No one knows exactly what causes PND but it is commonly believed to be related to the hormonal changes that a woman goes through during pregnancy. It could be both a combination of this and other factors such as social circumstances, family responsibilities etc. It can happen suddenly or at a slow pace, gradually building up until something brings the illness out into the open. The woman may not recognise that she has an illness.
Many feel that it should be a happy time, but because of these confusing feelings, the illness can become more prominent causing feelings of failure, because suddenly that person isn't coping.
PND is treatable and it is important to seek medical advice as soon as possible. Treatments available include a range of therapies, anti-depressants, counselling and alternative therapies. A GP or health advisor will suggest the most suitable approach.
Recovery from PND can take time, and depends on the person and the severity of the condition.
If you know someone with PND and want to help them, first and foremost take them and their concerns seriously and be patient with them.
This resource describes the symptoms of depression and the different kinds of treatment available.It also looks as ways that you can help yourself, and what family and
friends can do.