Overload

Postnatal depression

Category: Illness or disabilities

Type

Involuntary

Introduction and description

Oleg Oprisco
 
 

Postnatal depression, is a type of clinical depression occurring after childbirth.

Studies report prevalence rates among women from 5% to 25%, but methodological differences among the studies make the actual prevalence rate unclear. 

In the United States, postpartum depression is one of the leading causes of the murder of children less than one year of age which occurs in about 8 per 100,000 births.

So it is a very serious problem.

Symptoms

Symptoms may include sadness, low energy, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, reduced desire for sex, crying episodes, anxiety, and irritability.

While many women experience self-limited, mild symptoms postpartum, postpartum depression should be suspected when symptoms are severe and are long lasting. In about 1 to 2 per 1,000, postpartum depression results in postpartum psychosis.

The effects are made far worse if the person is without adequate support from family, friends and partner.   A man who walks away at the sight of his own baby, for example, is a cruel man indeed.

The emotional effects of postpartum depression can resut in sleep deprivation, and anxiety and a feeling of loss of control over life. 

Causes

 

From the research papers on PubMed, we have been able to identify two main causes.

Endorphin fluctuations

One cause of PND appears to be the change in endorphin levels. 

We have looked at this on the site in the context of childbirth, which touches on it briefly, but in more detail within the context of pregnancy

Endorphins are endogenous - are part of our own body chemicals.  They resemble the opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a feeling of well-being.  The main reason why endorphins are released naturally by the body during pregnancy, is because the body goes through some quite horrendous changes during pregnancy and without the endorphins, the mum could be in fairly constant pain and distress.

Once the baby has been born, however, there is no need for them and the body reduces them.  Unfortunately if the body does this too quickly and pregnancy has been blissful because of them, the person suffers withdrawal symptoms. 

the message in the bottle says - what you need is music,
love, nature, sleep, laughing, good healing food  ....

This problem will have been exacerbated if the childbirth was accompanied by strong painkillers - such as morphine or hydrocodone or similar.  Double withdrawal symptoms.

Opiates in general are extremely addictive, but the body adjusts to their presence very quickly and reduces the number of receptors.  One might look at it this way - to help draw a comparison which might have some meaning - this is the way a heroin addict feels if he tries to go 'cold turkey'.

The kind thing to do might be to give the new Mum a small opium pipe to smoke [we jest] but in the end there is a need to get off the opiates - endogenous and exogenous.

This is key, do not try to feed the low by giving any form of opiates, this includes codeine. NO CODEINE. 

Estrogen imbalance

The other major cause appears to be estrogen imbalance.  For more details of this problem see Estrogen imbalance.  For more general information on Estrogen itself and its role in the reproductive system see Estrogen.

Treatment

Find which of the two causes it might be.  Estrogen imbalance can actually be helped with food - phytoestrogens.

Sometimes the same food helps correct the endorphin imbalance at the same time.

Love, empathy, understanding and support make a great deal of difference.  You just need time and sleep.

 

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