All Posts Tagged: postpartum depression

Can Men Get Postpartum Depression, Too?

Almost everyone knows that new mothers can sometimes go through postpartum depression after the birth of a baby. There are plenty of articles about the subject online and daytime talk shows often discuss the topic. In women, anxiety and depression can be the result of many factors – sleeplessness, a new routine, feeling like you’re losing control, and radical swings in hormone levels all contribute to the “baby blues.” But, while new moms are the usual focus of postnatal depression, what about the new dad? Can men get postpartum depression, too?

While it would seem unlikely, it is not uncommon for new dads to also go through a period of depression after the birth of their child. In fact, in 2010, American Medical Association (AMA) researchers reported that slightly more than 10 percent of new fathers experience paternal postpartum depression (PPND). That figure is roughly twice as high as “regular” depression rates in the general male population.

Postpartum Depression in Men

In February, 2017 JAMA Psychiatry published the results of a New Zealand study of more than 3,500 men who were about to become fathers. These study participants filled out questionnaires when their partners were in their third trimester of pregnancy and answered follow-up questions nine months after the birth of their child.

The researchers found that while some of the new fathers showed signs of depression, this mental disorder was most likely to be present in the men who reported being in fair-to-poor health or under stress during the pregnancy. All in all, about 2.3 percent of the study’s expectant fathers exhibited signs of depression before the birth of the baby.

When the study follow-up was done nine months after the birth of their child, postpartum depression in the new fathers had increased. At this point, 4.3 percent of the men who were participating reported symptoms of PPND. This postpartum depression in men was not only associated with stress during the actual pregnancy, but had risen due to other factors that happened after the birth, such as becoming unemployed, having a prior depression history, or no longer being in a relationship with the child’s mother. It was also no surprise that the men’s risk increased if the baby had health concerns, was colicky and not sleeping well, or if the pregnancy was unplanned.

The AMA study done in 2010 showed that the men’s postpartum depression was highest in the 3 to 6 months after the child’s birth. Interestingly, researchers also noted a correlation to the depression severity within the family. It seems that the new fathers were more likely to experience paternal postnatal depression if the child’s mother also went through postpartum depression.

New Father Depression Symptoms

The indicators of postpartum depression in men are similar to those experienced by women. New father depression symptoms can include some or most of the following:

  • Anger, frustration, mood swings
  • Withdrawal from social activities
  • Poor memory, unable to concentrate
  • Fear that you can’t take care of yourself, your baby, or your baby’s mother
  • Low energy, diminished libido
  • Changes in appetite
  • Sleeping too much or insomnia
  • Feelings of guilt or inability to bond with your child
  • Feeling helpless, sad, or hopeless
  • Physical pain, such as gastrointestinal problems or headaches
  • Lack of interest in your normal activities
  • Poor hygiene, unmotivated to perform personal care routines

Don’t Ignore Paternal Postpartum Depression

Your depression can have a long-term effect on your marriage or relationship, and on your child. There is research that shows the children of men with postpartum depression can have a reduced vocabulary at age two and can have behavioral and emotional issues, as well. Additionally, men with postpartum depression are less apt to spend time playing with or reading to their kids and are more likely to spank their child.

As with women, untreated PPND can last for a long time. Treatment for this type of depression is most likely to involve cognitive behavioral therapy or talk therapy. If needed, it may also include anti-depressant medications.

Even though much is not yet known about paternal postpartum depression, it helps to know there is such a disorder and that you are not alone. It is normal for men to need time to adjust to a new baby, just the same as it is for the new mother. Because men are not as likely as women to seek help, if you or your partner are experiencing some of the new father depression symptoms listed above, it would be wise to speak with a licensed mental health professional who works with men. Remember: it is not a weakness to seek help. Instead, it shows the strength of your commitment to yourself and your family.

Let Us Help

If you are a new father and are going through the symptoms of paternal postnatal depression, the professionals at The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida can help. To get answers to your questions or for more information, contact us or call us today at 561-496-1094.

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Maternity Leave – Going Back to Work after Baby

One of the hardest things for a new mother on maternity leave to do is go back to work after it ends. You carried your bundle of joy for nine months and have had time off from your job to bond with your child. After taking care of their every need, it can be difficult to turn them over to strangers at a day care center and be separated from your son or daughter for an eight-hour period or longer. And, even if you know the babysitter – maybe it’s your mother-in-law, a friend, or a trusted neighbor – new parents will still go through an adjustment period when maternity leave ends and mom return to their job.

The end of maternity leave means new routines and more work to do. Now you not only have to get yourself up and out to work, you need to get another person ready to go as well. There are clothes and toys, diapers, and possibly special foods or medicines to prepare and pack for the work day. The household chores still need to be done, not to mention tasks like grocery shopping, laundry, or trips to the pediatrician. Deciding which parent will take care of which tasks after the end of maternity leave can be a job all by itself.

Additionally, some new mothers go through postpartum depression. Returning to work can add to their symptoms of crying, mood swings, loss of appetite, the inability to bond with their baby, and the guilt that accompanies this type of depression. If your postpartum depression symptoms don’t lessen after two weeks or if they are getting worse, be sure to call your doctor. Postpartum depression can be successfully treated with psychotherapy, medications, or a combination of the two.

Working Moms – Easing Back into your Job After Maternity Leave

Some working moms experience feelings of guilt for leaving their child with someone else or feel inadequate for not being a “superwoman” capable of handling the stresses of a new baby, new routines, and a new “normal.”

For all the books you can find about expecting a baby or the period immediately following birth, there are few resources that address the emotions and anxiety that going back to work after maternity leave can bring up for a new parent. This period has been called the “fifth trimester,” a term trademarked by Lauren Smith Brody, a former Glamour magazine executive editor. She struggled with returning to work and ultimately wrote a book to help new parents manage their expectations. She describes the shift from maternity leave to working mom as “a monumental transition.”

One of the best ways to help ease this maternity leave transition is to set things in place before the baby comes.

  • Research and arrange for childcare. If you have a babysitter instead of a daycare center, also set up a back-up plan in case the babysitter is ever sick.
  • Establish and practice your morning routine a couple of times, at least a week or two before going back to work. Actually wake up at the time you’ll need to get up for work, then eat, dress, and get your baby ready to go. Build in some “glitch time” for occasions like when the baby spits up just as you’re ready to leave or for the day you can’t find your keys.
  • If you plan to breastfeed, talk to your boss to arrange a schedule and set aside a private area for pumping.
  • Decide on temporary compromises you can make when going back to work after baby. Maybe you can go to sleep earlier, eat prepared meals once or twice a week instead of cooking, or let that load of laundry go until the weekend when you’re more rested.
  • Ask for help. Working moms are essentially doing two jobs: their actual employment job and the work of being a mother. It is not a sign of weakness to ask your spouse, family, or friends for help while you go through this transition.
  • Be kind to yourself. Get in some exercise time to reduce stress (even a little goes a long way), get plenty of rest, and try to spend 15-30 minutes every couple of days just doing something for yourself.
  • Avoid venting at work about the stress you may be feeling at home. That way, your boss doesn’t get the idea that you can’t handle the pressure and start worrying that you’ll quit.

It can be challenging to be a new mother going back to work after baby. One of the things working moms must do is find the balance that allows them to hold a job and maintain their pre-baby life, while also preserving their sanity.

If you are finding this more difficult to do than you thought, remember that the transition after maternity leave takes time. Give yourself an adjustment period. After this interval passes, if you still can’t handle it, it might be time to try working with your boss to discuss other options (example: working from home a couple of days per week) that can allow you to have a realistic balance.

Let Us Help

If you have concerns about maternity leave and going back to work after baby or if you are suffering from the symptoms of postpartum depression, the therapists at The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida are there to help. For more information, contact us or call us today at 561-496-1094.

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Pregnancy and Mental Health

Having a baby should be a joyous event, but for many women, the time surrounding a pregnancy can come with a variety of emotional and physical struggles. For those who are coping with postpartum depression, infertility, prenatal depression, or miscarriage, the issues related to getting pregnant (or even of becoming a mother) can be stressful and may lead to depression and other pregnancy and mental health concerns.

It isn’t unusual to experience sadness or fear about your pregnancy or becoming a parent. If you are trying to become pregnant, infertility concerns or the costs you may be facing for infertility treatments can be worrisome. Also, any woman may become anxious or depressed during their pregnancy or after they have a baby. If you do, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad mom, and you don’t have to suffer through it. The most important thing to do is talk to someone and get help if you feel anxious, depressed, or overwhelmed before, during, or after your pregnancy.

Postpartum Depression

According to the National Institute for Mental Health, postpartum depression and its accompanying anxiety can affect nearly 15% of new mothers at some point during the first year after giving birth. Postpartum depression can be a very serious mood disorder and is different than having the “baby blues” that some women experience due a change in hormone levels after childbirth. In general, postpartum depression lasts longer than two weeks and is more severe than the post-birth blues.

Left untreated, postpartum depression can lead to postpartum psychosis in which you consider harming your baby, yourself, or contemplate suicide. If your symptoms do not improve after two weeks or if they get worse, call a medical professional without delay!

Infertility and Mental Health

Infertility affects between 10 and 15 percent of couples. If you have tried unsuccessfully to get pregnant for more than one year (or, for more than 6 months if you are 35 or over), you may have infertility concerns. Additionally, women who become pregnant but are unable to carry their fetus to term may also be infertile.

Stress, anxiety, and depression are common when you want a child but have not been able to conceive. You may also experience marital issues, low self-esteem, and sexual dysfunction.

Prenatal Depression

Roughly 10 to 20 percent of mothers-to-be will struggle with prenatal depression (depression during their pregnancy). Stress can contribute to the development of depression. Marital problems, the age you are when you become pregnant, limited social support, uncertainty about the pregnancy, or having a prior history of depression can also contribute to new or worsening depression.

Prenatal depression can keep you from sleeping well, eating right, or taking good care of yourself. It can make you more likely to use alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs that could harm you or your baby. Additionally, some studies suggest that depression during pregnancy may increase the risk for pre-term delivery and low infant birth weight.

Your health and that of your baby should come first. Talking to your partner, your family, or your friends about your concerns can often make all the difference in helping lessen your prenatal depression. If you feel sad or anxious, consider talking with a mental health professional. They will work with you to manage your symptoms and develop a treatment plan to help you cope.

Coping with Miscarriage

Going through a loss of pregnancy is devastating, no matter the stage of pregnancy or the circumstances of the miscarriage. After losing a pregnancy, you’ll need to go through a grieving process. You may feel bitter, guilty, angry and helpless. Certain things may set you back, such as seeing a friend who is pregnant or passing a family with a new baby on the sidewalk.

Allow yourself time to mourn your pregnancy loss and to accept what’s happened. Talk to your partner, your family, and your friends or join a support group. Take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, taking things slow, eating right and exercising. It may help to keep a journal of your feelings.

If you have tried these things and are still having trouble dealing with your grief and loss, talk to your physician, a grief counselor, or a mental health professional for support.

Mood Disorders and Pregnancy

If you already have a mood disorder and become pregnant, it can be tempting to discontinue any psychotropic medications. However doing this can cause harm to you and your unborn baby, and can make you particularly vulnerable to relapse. One study showed the risk of recurrence was significantly higher in women who discontinued treatment with mood stabilizers. Before stopping any medication, you should discuss your pregnancy with your mental health professional so they can conduct a thorough risk/benefit analysis. This analysis should include the impact of untreated illness on both you and your baby, as well as weigh the risk of using medication during your pregnancy.

Treatment for Pregnancy and Mental Health Concerns

If you have anxiety, depression, or other pregnancy and mental health concerns, physical causes should be ruled out first. A medical exam will be able to exclude hypoglycemia, thyroid deficiency, or other health conditions that may be causing your depression or anxiety.

Next, speak to a mental health professional. Talking to a therapist, psychologist, or social worker will help you learn how to change the way your depression makes you think, feel, and act. They may recommend talk therapy, either one-on-one or in a group, to help lower your stress and your mood symptoms.

In some case, your mental health professional may prescribe medication to help you manage your symptoms. Talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of taking medicine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Have Questions About Pregnancy and Mental Health?

If you need help dealing with postpartum depression, infertility and mental health, prenatal depression, coping with miscarriage or other pregnancy and mental health concerns, we are here for you. For more information, contact The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida or call us today at 561-496-1094.

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Postpartum Depression

Welcoming a new family member into your household is an exciting and joyous event. There is so much anticipation about the new baby and women often go through their pregnancy daydreaming about happy things: who will the baby will look like, what will their first words be? Understandably, the knowledge that you’re going to have a baby can also give rise to a certain level of concern and anxiety – there will be sleepless nights, adjustments in your daily life, and possible financial concerns to face.

It’s perfectly normal to feel both anxious and excited after the birth of a new baby and it’s also quite common for new mothers to experience the “baby blues” as they adjust to the arrival of their child. In fact, research shows the symptoms of the baby blues (mood swings, difficulty sleeping, crying, and anxiety) can affect up to 80% of new moms. These symptoms usually begin somewhere in the first few days after giving birth and generally last for about two weeks.

For some new mothers, however, the birth of their baby can trigger a long-lasting and more severe episode of depression, called postpartum depression or postnatal depression. Additionally, and rarely, a new mother can go also through postpartum psychosis – an extreme and dangerous mood disorder.

What is Postpartum Depression?

First, whether you are experiencing “just” the baby blues or an actual incidence of postpartum depression, understand that it is not a sign of weakness on your part and it doesn’t mean you are “a bad mom”! There is plenty of evidence showing that this mood disorder can actually be a complication of the birth process for some women.

After giving birth, many physical and emotional changes take place: hormone levels drop dramatically, you’re sleep-deprived, you may feel overwhelmed, and you may feel like you’re losing control of your life. Researchers think these changes may contribute to the development of postpartum depression. Furthermore, studies have shown that women who have a past history of depression and anxiety or those with a thyroid imbalance may be at higher risk for postnatal depression.

At first, postpartum depression can be mistaken for the baby blues, but the symptoms of postnatal depression last longer than the typical week or two in the case of the baby blues and are more profound. And, while the symptoms of post partum depression generally begin within the first few weeks after having a baby, they can even start anywhere from six months to a year after giving birth. Left untreated, postnatal depression can last a long time, ranging from several months to several years.

Postpartum Depression Symptoms

The Mayo Clinic  lists postpartum depression symptoms that may include:

  • Depressed mood or severe mood swings
  • Excessive crying
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual
  • Inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much
  • Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
  • Reduced interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
  • Intense irritability and anger
  • Fear that you’re not a good mother
  • Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy
  • Diminished ability to think clearly, concentrate or make decisions
  • Severe anxiety and panic attacks
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

Postpartum Psychosis

As mentioned above, postpartum psychosis is rare, occurring in about .1% of births or about 1 to 2 out of every 1,000 deliveries. Postpartum psychosis is severe and usually comes on suddenly – most often within the first two weeks after giving birth. The women most at risk have had a prior psychotic episode or are those with a personal or family history of bipolar disorder.

Postpartum psychosis can include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Delusions
  • Bizarre beliefs
  • Irrational judgements

Research shows that, in women undergoing postpartum psychosis, there is a suicide rate of about 5% and a rate of infanticide of approximately 4%. Because of the woman’s psychotic state, her delusions and beliefs feel very real, make total sense to her, and may cause her to act on them.

It is imperative that a woman going through postpartum psychosis get immediate help. This condition is treatable, but it is an emergency condition. Call your doctor or an emergency helpline to get the assistance you need as soon as possible!

Getting Help for Postpartum Depression

If you suspect you may have postpartum depression, the sooner you seek help, the better for both your baby and yourself. Call your doctor or a mental health professional right away if the signs and symptoms of your depression:

  • Don’t lessen or go away after two weeks
  • Seem to be getting worse
  • Are making it hard for you to care for yourself and/or your baby
  • Are making it difficult to carry out everyday tasks
  • Include thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

Treatment for postpartum depression may include counseling and talk therapy via Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, as well as the use of antidepressant medications.

Learn More

Without treatment, postpartum depression can last for months or years. If you think you or a loved one may be suffering from postnatal depression, contact the mental health professionals at The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida at 561-496-1094 or email The Center today.

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Postpartum Depression and Anxiety – How to Overcome Them

According to the National Institute for Mental Health, postpartum depression and its accompanying anxiety can affect nearly 15% of new mothers at some point during the first year after giving birth. Postpartum depression can be a very serious mood disorder and is different than having the “baby blues” that some women experience due a change in hormone levels after childbirth. In general, postpartum depression lasts longer and is more severe than the post-birth blues.

Postpartum Depression and Anxiety Symptoms

The first thing to do is recognize postpartum depression symptoms:
• Negative feelings about the baby and/or not being interested in your newborn
• Trouble sleeping
• Persistently feeling hopeless, sad, and/or despondent
Panic attacks – rapid heartbeat, feeling shaky, dizziness *(link: http://www.drandrewrosen.com/panic-disorder-therapy/)
• Decreased energy, loss of appetite
• A loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
• Anxiety that interferes with your ability to take care of your baby

Because our society thinks that new mothers should be thrilled with their baby, we often dismiss her postpartum depression and anxiety as “just hormones” when, in fact, therapy or anxiety medication is necessary. If a woman buries her feelings because she thinks she should be happy but isn’t, postpartum depression and anxiety can become much worse over time.

Help for Postpartum Depression and Anxiety:
• Before postpartum depression and anxiety is treated, physical causes should be ruled out. A medical exam will be able to exclude hypoglycemia, thyroid deficiency, or other health conditions that can mimic postpartum depression.
• Speak to a mental health professional – many specialize in treating women with anxiety and postpartum depression. These professionals can help you develop coping strategies and can work with you and your family so they can provide further support. Additionally, therapists can determine your need for antidepressants or other medication, if your depression is severe.
• If you can’t afford a therapist, each state has county mental health facilities that can get you the help you need.
• Get as much rest and sleep as possible by sleeping when your baby sleeps.
• Eat a healthy diet and get some exercise.
• Follow your treatment plan as closely as possible.
• Don’t isolate yourself – spend time interacting with friends and family.
• Seek out a “New Mom” support group – your pediatrician or obstetrician can refer you to a nearby program if you can’t locate one on your own.

Left untreated, postpartum depression and anxiety can lead to postpartum psychosis in which you consider harming your baby, yourself, or contemplate suicide. If your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse, call a medical professional without delay.

For more information about anxiety after giving birth and postpartum depression, please contact Dr. Andrew Rosen and The Center for Treatment of Anxiety Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida at 561-496-1094 or email Dr. Rosen and The Center today.

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