Can Post-partum Depression Lead to Addiction?

Can Post-partum Depression Lead to Addiction?

Post-partum depression is a mood disorder that can affect women after childbirth

Post-partum depression is a type of mental illness that affects women after giving birth. Many women who suffer with post-partum depression often try to hide their symptoms from loved ones and friends. This can lead to drug abuse, and in some cases, addiction. It is important to remember that post-partum depression is a treatable medical condition and is nothing to be ashamed of. Understanding what post-partum depression is and is not can help you get the treatment you need. And getting the right help at the right time can protect both you and your baby.

Post-partum Depression Explained

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, post-partum depression is a mood disorder that often affects women after childbirth. Women struggling with post-partum depression may experience times of extreme sadness, anxiety and exhaustion, to the point of not being able to participate in normal activities, or care for themselves or their child. Other commons symptoms of post-partum depression include the following:

  • Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Crying for no apparent reason or more often than usual
  • Anxiety and worry
  • Feeling moody, restless or irritable
  • Oversleeping or insomnia
  • Inability to concentrate, remember details or make decisions
  • Anger or rage
  • Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • Overeating or not eating enough
  • Avoiding friends or family members
  • Inability to bond with baby
  • Persistent doubts about your ability to care for your baby
  • Thinking of harming yourself or your baby

If you experience even one of these symptoms, call us now. Help is available. Do not wait.

Post-partum Depression Causes

There are a variety of things that can cause post-partum depression, and the list can vary based on the individual. Post-partum depression can be caused by both physical and emotional issues. After childbirth, hormone levels drop substantially. These quick changes can result in severe mood swings that can lead to other post-partum symptoms. Getting adequate rest after baby is born can be challenging. Extreme exhaustion can lead to many of the symptoms of the disorder and make it hard for a new mother to understand what is happening to her body. Enlisting the help of friends and loved ones in the early days can help new moms get extra sleep, stay caught up with chores and eliminate the need to cook or shop. These things are not a cure for post-partum depression, but they can help when learning to manage life with a newborn.

Baby Blues or Post-partum Depression?

Most new moms experience some symptoms of mild depression after giving birth. Crying more often than usual, feeling tired all the time and having a few mood swings are all a normal part of bringing baby home. The American Pregnancy Association calls these symptoms, which subside after the first few weeks, the “Baby Blues.” The difference between the normal post-birth experience and true post-partum depression is that “Baby Blues” symptoms go away on their own. When a woman’s feelings of sadness interfere with her ability to care for herself or her family, post-partum depression is the most-likely culprit.

Although there is no way to determine who will develop post-partum depression, some women are more susceptible than others. Women who are more likely to develop this type of depression include those who:

  • Have symptoms of depression during a previous pregnancy
  • Suffered depression after a previous pregnancy
  • Have struggled with depression or bipolar disorder at other times of life
  • Have a family history of depression
  • Experience increased stress during or after pregnancy
  • Have medical complications during childbirth
  • Lack of a strong emotional support system

Furthermore, women who struggle with alcohol or drug addiction may be at higher risk for post-partum depression, and depression can also increase one’s risk of developing addiction.

Post-partum Depression and Addiction

Post-partum depression can also lead to addiction. This is especially true if there is a personal or family history of addiction prior to pregnancy. The risk of addiction is increased in those women taking pain medication for a difficult birth or cesarean section. Discuss your risk factors for addiction and depression with your OB/GYN during your pregnancy and prior to delivery. Knowing your risks, communicating those risks with your doctor, loved ones and trusted friends can help decrease the danger to you or your baby.

Finding Help for Post-partum Depression and Addiction

Post-partum depression is a serious illness that affects 40 percent of all new mothers in the United States each year. Post-partum depression is nothing to be ashamed of, and getting the right help can prevent any harm coming to you or your baby. Post-partum depression often leads to alcohol or drug addiction. If you or a loved one struggles with either of these illnesses, we are here for you. Call our toll-free helpline 24 hours a day to speak to an admissions coordinator about available treatment options.