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Understanding Postpartum Depression: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Options

Jun 5, 2023 | 0 comments

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Jun 5, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments


The birth of a new-born baby can result facilitate the development of powerful emotions. These range from joy, excitement, anxiety and fear. However, there are situations where this can result to depression especially to the mothers (The New York Times, 2014). Most of the new mothers tend to experience depression after their childbirth and is mainly characterized by mood swings and crying periods that tend to fade quickly. There exist some mothers that tend to experience severe and a long lasting form of depression commonly referred as Postpartum Depression. It is important to note that the Post-Partum Depression is neither a weakness nor a character flaw. Depression on the other hand refers to a mental illness that tend to affect a person’s mood and the way the individuals think about themselves and their relations with others.

There are certain traits or symptoms of depression that are vividly evident from the observation of a patient or mother (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2014). Some of these signs include; feeling sad and hopelessness. Individuals that tend to suffer from this form of depression tends to make it very hard to even remember information and it is very hard for the patient to concentrate on matters that affect the relationship. The mothers with this kind of depression can affect any individual. However, despite being common among women, it can easily affect any parent of the born child and is not only limited to the mothers. Parents who adopt children can also suffer from the postpartum depression.


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Major Depression

The episodes of a major depression tend not be experienced for over a period of 20 years. The symptoms experienced by mother, is significantly different symptoms experienced by the child. Some of the symptoms include low energy, persistent boredom, and inability to enjoy the favourite activities (The New York Times, 2014).

The Depression can mainly be categorized into three main groups; typical depression, Dysthymia and the seasonal affective disorder (The New York Times, 2014).

  • Dysthymia- This is unique and chronic form of depression that tend to affect three to six per cent of the general population. The symptoms of the disorder are relatively less intense and at the same time tend to last for a much longer time.
  • Typical Depression- 33% of the total Postpartum Depression states are in the United States. This is further accompanied with unique types of symptoms and they include; sensitivity to rejection, over feeding and the leaden paralysis.
  • Seasonal Disorder- the season affective disorder, commonly referred to as SAD is mainly characterized by the annual episodes of depressions. Some of the other common types of symptoms of the Seasonal affective disorder include; tendency to over eat and fatigue. Seasonal change tends to affect an individual for over 5 months especially for the individuals that are located in the north.


In order to come up with the best cures for the Post-partum depression, it is very important to determine the main causes of the disorder. Some of the main causes include; biological factors, genetic factors and environmental factors (Stuart, 2012).

Genetic factors-

Over the years it has been determined that post-partum depression tends to run in the family lineage. The data from the adoption, twin and the genetic studies have sufficient information to link Post-partum depression to the genetically make up on individual or family. The studies have further shown that the relatives of the patients with this type of depression are between 2 to 6 times more likely to develop Post- Partum depression, compared to individuals whose family is not associated with the disorder.

Biological Factors

It is important to understand that the biological factors tend play a significant role in increasing the chances of a new mother and the baby to be able develop Post-Partum depression. The most basic causes of the Post-partum disorder are strongly attributed to the abnormal link to specific neurotransmitter. Some of the neurotransmitters include; serotonin and the other neurotransmitter serotonin is one of the most important neurotransmitters in Depression among other important functions.

Environmental Factors

The medications prescribed to the patients play a significant role in affecting the brain chemicals and hence triggering depression among the new born mothers and children. The medications include certain types of drugs that are used for high blood pressure, acne, contraception, inflammation, Parkinson disease and other conditions.

All these factors discussed above play a role in facilitating the post-partum depression among the mothers and the new-born babies.

Postpartum depression can at times be a very difficult experience, when becoming a new parent is a tough experience, and the challenges attributed to the depression may seem significantly overwhelming. It is therefore vital to note that there is no such as an experience as a perfect pregnancy, perfect baby, perfect birth or even perfect parent and thus the one should always aim at doing her best in parenting.

How to treat Postpartum Depression

Over the years there have been contention, on the best mode of treatment of the postpartum depression. Both the Natural cures and drug prescription, or a combination have worked best for the patients across the globe and has significantly helped them recover from the postpartum depression.

Natural Cures

There exist certain natural cures that can significantly assist the parents and the new-born babies over the postpartum depression. Natural cures are the best alternatives for individuals that do not prefer medication as an option to their condition. It is also important to note that the patient has the right to choose the best form of medication that she prefers, not unless advised otherwise by their doctors.

One of the best forms of natural cures is counselling and Support. This refers to a type of counselling known as cognitive behavioural therapy that is very common in the treatment of postpartum depression. This is one of the best treatments to start with especially for milder symptoms. The cognitive behavioural therapy teaches one on how his or her thoughts, behaviours and feelings work together. It further involves teaching important skills such as the problem solving skills, stress management, realistic thinking and relaxation (Canandian Mental Health Association, 2014).

The other type of counselling refers to the interpersonal psychotherapy that mainly focuses on the relationships and can help individuals to adjust to their changing roles in the relationship. The support groups are also very crucial. The postpartum depression and the parenthood role tend to isolate the parents from all the other individuals and thus the isolation may lead to the formation of feelings of depression. The support groups therefor offer and many opportunities to share personal experiences learn from the others and get a chance to connect with the other parents who have had similar experiences in the past and thus understand effectively what one is going through now (Canandian Mental Health Association, 2014).

The other way is through taking care of one’s wellbeing. This is very crucial; however, it may be very difficult for a new parent. As a result, it may be important to recruit loved ones or on the other hand see what is available so that one can take some time for personal needs. Regular exercises are also one of the best ways to manage stress and boost one’s moods. Ensuring that one sleeps well and have enough sleeping time can also be very helpful. Finally, it is also important to spend time in activities that one enjoys find out the relaxation strategies that work for either of you and spend time with people who makes one feel better (Canandian Mental Health Association, 2014).

There are activities that may seem small but are very crucial in ensuring that the postpartum depression is reduced. Some of these steps include; setting goals, getting a routine, exercising, eating healthy and having enough sleep (WebMD, LLC, 2014). It is important to state that natural cures require discipline and commitment to ensure that they achieve 100% healing (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2014).


Unlike the natural cures, there are certain types of medications that have been developed over time that assist those who suffer from postpartum depression heal fast. The most common type of medication that is utilized so as to tackle the postpartum depression are the antidepressants. The antidepressants exist in different levels and each type of antidepressant act differently. Whereas, most mothers can take antidepressants while breast-feeding, it is important that the mother seek professional advice from their doctors for the possible risks and the benefits of the medication. The medication can also help with some symptoms such as sleep, appetite and the energy levels. However, it is important to recognize the fact that the medication cannot get rid of some of the thoughts that mainly facilitate the depression. Thus most individuals that use medication, are advised to supplement it with counselling (Daley, Macarthur, & Winter, 2007).

The other form of medication is the hormone therapy. The hormone therapy involves estrogen replacement thus may help counteract the rapid drop in the estrogen that is as a result of the child birth, which in turn eases the signs and symptoms of the postpartum depression in some type of women (Daley, Macarthur, & Winter, 2007).


From the analysis above, it is vivid that the natural cures of the postpartum depression are the best form of medication. This is because the natural cures tend to deal with the route course of the depression by offering counselling sessions, understanding the main cause of the depression, tackles on how to solve, and how to emerge from it to a stronger person. The medications on the other hand are mainly tackling the symptoms and not the route course of the postpartum depression. The medications mainly tackle factors such as headaches, insomnia, stress, appetite among so many other factors. This will have the effect of only hiding the building pressure into the depression and may even lead to a worse problem that may end up affecting the patients. It is therefore vivid that the natural medication serves as a better form of medication for the postpartum depression. However if both are used then the patient is likely to recognize significant improvements.


Canandian Mental Health Association. (2014). Postpartum Depression. Retrieved November 30, 2014, from http://www.cmha.ca/mental_health/postpartum-depression/#.VHo91PmSzWE

Daley, A. J., Macarthur, C., & Winter, H. (2007). Midwifery Womens Health. 56-62.

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2014). Postpartum depression. Retrieved November 11, 2014, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/postpartum-depression/basics/symptoms/con-20029130

Stuart, S. (2012). Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Postpartum Depression. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 14-140.

The New York Times. (2014). Postpartum Depression In-Depth Report. Retrieved November 10, 2014, from http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/post-partum-depression/print.html

WebMD, LLC. (2014). Depression Health Center. Retrieved November 30, 2014, from http://www.webmd.com/depression/features/natural-treatments

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