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Postpartum Depression

After 9 months of pregnancy, hours of labor, childbirth, sleep deprivation, nursing, and radical lifestyle changes, is it any wonder that 7 of 10 new moms get "the baby blues"?  The good news is that this generally resolves without treatment within 2 weeks.  One in ten women, however, may develop postpartum depression, a medical disorder deserving medical and psychotherapy.  Symptoms include sleep disturbances, excessive weeping; irritability, anger and hostility, headaches, overwhelming exhaustion, mood swings, profound guilt, lost appetite, poor concentration, and feeling unable to care for your children. The good news about PPD is that it can be successfully treated with antidepressant medication and therapy.  This doesn't mean you're crazy: it means you are being responsible, taking steps to give your baby with what it needs most-a healthy mom.  And, it doesn't last forever:  it often runs its course within 6 months.

Postpartum depression should NOT be confused with the popularized extremely severe cases of postpartum psychosis.  This is a very rare form of postpartum mental illness that involves hallucinations and clearly psychotic behavior. 

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Created: 9/28/2001  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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