What If I Don’t Feel Depressed?
Given the publicity surrounding the trial of Andrea Yates, who murdered her five children while suffering from postpartum psychosis, and the controversy created by Tom Cruise, who publicly criticized Brooke Shields for taking antidepressants to recover from PPD, most people assume they know all they need to about PPD. Yates and Cruise created enough awareness that women now know just enough to know that something is wrong, and it might be related to postpartum depression, but they don’t know much more than that. And neither do their healthcare providers.
Most are unaware that PPD is only one in a spectrum of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders that also includes antenatal depression, postpartum OCD, postpartum anxiety, postpartum panic disorder, postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder and postpartum psychosis. Not everyone feels sadness or depression when they have a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder.
With that in mind, here is a list of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders we think you should know about:
- Postpartum Depression can feature appetite and sleep problems, difficulty concentrating and making decisions, lack of interest in the baby, irritation or anger, withdrawal from interacting with others, sadness, the constant feeling of being overwhelmed, and/or possible thoughts of harming oneself or running away.
- Antenatal Depression has symptoms similar to PPD but instead occurs during pregnancy.
- Postpartum Anxiety is marked by excessive worries and fears, often centered on the baby, and sometimes physical symptoms like diarrhea, headaches or nausea.
- Postpartum OCD is characterized by obsessions – persistent disturbing thoughts or mental images generally related to the baby – and compulsions – doing things over and over to reduce the fears and obsessions.
- Postpartum Panic Disorder involves recurring panic attacks, which can include shortness of breath, chest pain, heart palpitations and numbness or tingling in the extremities. Some women liken it to feeling like they’re having a heart attack.
- Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, usually brought on by a traumatic childbirth (or the perception of one), is similar to other forms of PTSD in that sufferers re-experience the trauma they experienced in thoughts and nightmares.
- Postpartum Psychosis is a rare and dangerous illness that is considered a psychiatric emergency and features delusions and/or hallucinations and mania.