Post-Partum Depression Diagnostic PaperInstructor: Keith Burton
Saint Leo University
Post-Partum Depression Diagnostic PaperPost-partum depression is a mood disorder that is found in women who have given birth and can trigger a woman to have severe and constant mood swings. This specific mood disorder comes in different forms and can be detected in early stages, so the patient can receive help as soon as possible. The different stages of this mood disorder are maternity blues, post-partum depression, and post-partum psychosis. The sooner a woman is diagnosed and treated for this disorder the better it will be for her and her child’s health.
Maternity blues is the least severe part of post-partum depression, especially for women who are not at risk for post-partum depression because it usually lasts between two and three weeks. Symptoms of maternity blues can include anxiety, crying, insomnia, tiredness, moodiness, and sadness. Post-partum depression is the more severe form of this disorder and can be associated with what is known as a Major Depressive Episodes. If a woman who has just given birth is experiencing a major depressive episode which means she is feeling depressed for at least a week straight she likely experiencing post-partum depression (Hohenshil, 1994). Post-partum depression symptoms can include irritability, anger, appetite issues, thoughts of suicide or infanticide, emotional/circadian/energetic dysregulation, feeling worrisome, anxious, even guilty (Fox ; Glynn, 2018). The last form of this disorder would be post-partum psychosis which is the most severe stage there is. Post-partum psychosis symptoms can include; delusions or strange beliefs, hallucinations, feeling very irritated, hyperactivity, decreased need for or inability to sleep, paranoia and suspiciousness, rapid mood swings, even difficulty communicating at times.
In order for women to receive treatment for post-partum depression, they must be diagnosed by a doctor. Fortunately, times are changing, and healthcare providers are noticing the issue of women going undiagnosed, therefore, there are screenings which are made available to new mothers, so they can be diagnosed sooner than later. The DSM-IV diagnostic criteria states that in order for a woman to be diagnosed with post-partum depression she must experience a major depressive episode which has not gone away. Healthcare providers are beginning to notice a pattern in risk factors when diagnosing women for this disorder. The main risk factors that doctors began to see in women with post-partum depression was a link between maternity blues and post-partum depression. A study was given among German women where they were screened at two weeks after giving birth for maternity blues then again at three months after giving birth for post-partum depression. The results showed women who had experienced maternity blues began having major depressive episodes where their depression became more severe and did not go away (Reck ; Mundt, 2009). This gives proof to the link doctors found between maternity blues and post-partum.
This disorder is, unfortunately, a lot more common than people think. According to the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary ; Alternative Medicine, the rate of women rate for mothers developing postpartum depression after giving birth is thirty-nine to eighty-five percent. Although the rate for a woman developing postpartum psychosis in ten to fifteen percent within the first two to four weeks after giving birth (V?c?ra? ; Oberbaum, 2016). This is a major issue because the percentage of women who go undiagnosed is much higher at a rate of fifty percent. If post-partum depression is left untreated and leads to post-partum psychosis it could be detrimental to the mother and child’s life. Which made a lot of people wonder why were so many women going undiagnosed and untreated for a condition that can lead to death? Practitioners years ago, were not up to par diagnosing patients with post-partum depression, they did not know what symptoms to look for which can make it nearly impossible to come to a diagnosis (Gerhant & Miernicka, 2016). Not only were practitioners not up to par on the criteria of diagnosing women on stages of post-partum depression but it was not cost-effective for women to receive a screening for this disorder (O’Hara, 2009). In order to fix the issue with women going undiagnosed with post-partum depression, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recently made it possible that these screenings take place early on at an affordable cost. This makes it possible for women to receive the diagnosis and treatment needed for their disorder at an affordable price (Wilkinson ; Wheeler, 2017).
Studies have shown that there are certain risk factors that could cause a woman to be more prone to post-partum depression than other women such as history of depression and/or anxiety, relationship problems with one’s partner, domestic violence, lack of social support, stressful events, isolation, negative attitude toward pregnancy, and personality vulnerabilities (Palumbo & Gigantesco, 2017). A nationwide study in Sweden occurred where only women who were giving birth for the first time to one child was able to participate, this study took place during 1997 and 2008. The results of this study found that new mothers are at risk for developing postpartum depression if the mother has a prior history of depression and/or gestational diabetes. In fact, the risk for postpartum depression is twenty times higher than a person who has no prior history of depression or diabetes (Silverman & Sandin, 2017).
There are several different forms of treatment a woman can choose to receive the help she needs. Treatment available to women for post-partum depression includes therapy, management classes such as stress management and relaxation classes (Scheyer & Urizar, 2016), medication like anti-depressants, exercise, and homeopathy. In today’s society, thousands of people will not take medication due to the ingredients in it or how it makes them feel overall, and there are also people who do not feel comfortable with sharing their emotions/feelings with a stranger. This can make it hard for a person to find treatment if they feel this way about medication or therapy. Homeopathy is the belief that the body can cure itself, it is also a strategy that is inexpensive, private, and free of side effects. A study was conducted where a twenty-five-year-old new mother who was a medical student was the participant. The results showed it was too early in the study to make assumptions, but it was noted that her mood was positive, her energy level was higher than in the past, and her coping ability impeccable are all extremely promising (V?c?ra? ; Oberbaum, 2016). For women who are looking for natural and more private ways to treat their post-partum depression, the homeopathy strategy could be a great way with the help of a practitioner.
It is so important for a new mother to receive treatment for any and all stages of post-partum depression because it can lead to long-term effects on both mother and child. For example, in this case study, a twenty-five-year-old woman gave birth and began to show signs of postpartum depression just two weeks after giving birth. At four weeks of giving birth, the young mother killed her own child then attempted to kill herself but failed to do so. It is mentioned in the article that the psychological symptoms this young woman displayed were: baby blues, high anxiety level during pregnancy, high level of stress related to child care (Gerhant ; Miernicka, 2016). Not only can unfortunate events like murder-suicides occur but mothers can become distant from their child which can cause the child to have attachment and cognition issues later in life.
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