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Feeling Sad: Is it Postpartum Depression?

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Posted at 8:07 AM, Aug 20, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-20 10:07:54-04

Depression can be debilitating for anyone; however, women are twice as likely to experience clinical depression as men. It is estimated that one in four women will have an episode of major depression at some point in her life. It is thought that hormone fluctuations during a woman’s life can contribute to the increased risk of developing depression.

What is postpartum depression? 
After childbirth, some women may experience postpartum depression. Although there is no single cause, many known factors can increase a woman’s risk including: a dramatic drop in hormone levels, emotional factors, sleep deprivation, and lifestyle stressors. It is important for any new mom to speak with her doctor if she is experiencing symptoms of depression after childbirth.

Symptoms of depression in women
Depression symptoms can range from mild to severe. Common symptoms include:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or hopeless feelings
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness
  • Appetite changes including overeating or loss of appetite
  • Decreased energy and fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Persistent physical symptoms, such as headaches, pain, digestive issues
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Treatment for depression in women
In some cases, treatment depends on the type of depression and the severity of symptoms. It is important to remember that healing from depression takes time but taking the right steps and getting the support necessary is the best place to start.

  • Ask for help and support from trusted people
  • Get enough sleep
  • Get out and exercise
  • Practice relaxation techniques
  • Psychological counseling
  • Antidepressant medications