Postpartum Depression Essay

1854 Words May 3rd, 2005 8 Pages
Introduction
What is Postpartum Depression
Having a baby should be one of the happiest and most important events in a woman's life. However, although life with a new baby can be both thrilling and rewarding, it can also be a difficult and quite stressful task. Most women make the transition without great difficulty, yet some women experience considerable complexity that may manifest itself as a postpartum psychiatric disorder (O'hara, Hoffman, Philips, & Wright, 1992). Many physical and emotional changes can occur to a woman during the time of her pregnancy as well as following the birth of her child. These particular changes can leave a new mother feeling sad, anxious, afraid and confused. For many women, these feelings; which are
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Untreated postpartum affective illness places both the mother and infant at risk and is associated with significant long-term effects on child development and behavior; therefore, prompt recognition and treatment of postpartum depression are essential for both the maternal and infant's well being.
Postpartum Psychosis
Conclusively, at the other end of the spectrum is the truly devastating postpartum psychosis. This is known as a relatively rare disease that occurs in approximately 1-2 per 1,000 women after childbirth (Campbell et al, 1991). The condition resembles a rapidly evolving manic episode with symptoms such as restlessness and insomnia, irritability, rapidly shifting depressed or elated mood, and disorganized behavior. The mother may have delusional beliefs that relate to the infant, or she may have hallucinations that instruct her to harm herself or her child. Nonetheless, risks for infanticide and suicide are high among women with this disorder.
As these patients often suffer from delusions and suicidal tendencies, the consequences of this disease to both mother and child are significant. Furthermore, depressed mothers have an increased risk of relapsing and/or continued psychiatric illness. Depressed mothers often show a more negative attitude toward their children, and an injured new mother puts significant emotional and perhaps economic burdens on family relationships. The