Having a child is one of the most rewarding experiences a human being can have. However, some mothers experience what is known as postpartum depression .
Scientific studies show that between 10 and 15% of parents can suffer from this disorder, as the College of Nursing in Valencia was able to verify.
Fortunately, patients with this condition have a good prognosis thanks to the work of psychologists.
In the following lines we will go deeper into this phenomenon and look at its causes, symptoms and treatment.
Types of depression
It is common to suffer some downturn from time to time, as life has good and bad moments. In fact, some experiences can affect us so intensely that we find it hard to return to normal. Feeling sad about an event that has occurred is normal, the problem happens when suffering becomes too much of a part of our life and affects our day-to-day, negatively influencing our well-being .
In these cases we talk about depression, and according to different mental disorder manuals, depressive disorders can be classified in different ways.
- Major depression: This is the most serious type of depression. There are two types: single-episode and relapsing.
- Dysthymia: known as mild depression.
- Manic depression : appears in bipolar disorder.
- Seasonal depressive disorder-occurs during one time of year For example, in winter.
- Postpartum depression : some mothers, especially first-time mothers, may have this disorder.
If you want to know more about the different types of depression, you can read our article: “Are there several types of depression?”
What is postpartum depression?
Having a child with the person we love is one of life’s great gifts. But sometimes this great experience can lead to postpartum depression. The first few weeks after a birth can be a vulnerable time for the mother, who may experience a wide range of emotions, not all of them positive.
Sometimes this feeling can appear without explanation. Anxiety, sadness, insomnia, fatigue, irritability, excessive tiredness, nervousness, pessimism , can affect the first weeks or months of motherhood.
One of the most prominent characteristics of this type of depression is that it occurs after birth, and can last for up to a year after the child is born. But what symptoms do people with postpartum depression experience?
- Irritability : irritability may be present in mothers with postpartum depression, who may feel agitated with their family, partner and even their new child.
- Sadness: the most common symptom. The person experiences a negative mood, a desire to cry, and may experience low self-esteem.
- Insomnia: Sleep problems and difficulty in falling asleep are common.
- Anxiety-people with postpartum depression experience high levels of anxiety.
- Lack of sexual appetite : demotivation by sex may appear as a consequence of postpartum depression.
- Loss of appetite : as with other types of depression, people with this disorder often have less desire to eat, especially in the early stages. However, some individuals eat sweets and fats in excess to relieve psychological distress.
- Fatigue : postpartum depression causes a person to feel tired, exhausted and fatigued, both mentally and physically.
Postpartum depression can occur for different reasons. They are as follows:
- Difficulty in adapting to changes. For example, when the mother does not have time for herself
- Changes in social and/or labour relations.
- Concerns related to her ability to be a good mother
- Lack of sleep
- Unreasonable expectations about being a mother, especially in the first few months
Postpartum depression can occur especially in new mothers, and one in ten parents experiences it. Fortunately, psychological treatment works very well, so the patient usually has a good prognosis.
Many patients go to their family doctor for help, but ideally they go to a psychological centre like those on our “Top 10 Psychology and Psychotherapy Clinics” list. For those who do not want or cannot go to a face-to-face clinic, they can benefit from the help of a psychologist like those mentioned in our ranking: “The 6 best online therapy clinics”.
The importance of psychotherapy
The ideal is to have psychotherapy sessions with an expert in perinatal psychology , which is a branch of psychology oriented towards the period between conception, pregnancy, birth, postpartum and child rearing.
Psychologists generally employ cognitive-behavioral techniques, which research shows have a high success rate.
New therapeutic models for the treatment of this pathology
However, in recent years, new types of psychotherapy have begun to be used, and the results have been positive.
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy or acceptance and commitment therapy are among the most widely used, and both belong to the third generation of therapies, also known as contextual therapies.
If you want to know more about these types of therapies, you can read our articles:
- Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy: what is it?
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): principles and characteristics