Post Natal Depression can be a serious illness, and one of the best ways to deal with it is to recognise the signs and symptoms quickly so that you can seek help for yourself or your partner. Here are some common signs of PND that might be a sign that you should be seeking help.
Signs of PND
Low mood ? feeling sad, low and down are some of the most obvious signs of depression of any kind. However, feeling down or sad can be normal, healthy reactions to things that are happening in your life. This is what makes it hard to decide whether you, or someone you care about, is suffering from depression or is simply experiencing normal emotional responses.
Loss of Interest in Life ? a sudden drop in the level of interest taken in the world around you, or feeling like you no longer want to do the things you used to enjoy can be a warning sign that your low mood is more than just a normal feeling of sadness. If you have hobbies that you have left behind or feel like you can?t be bothered to get involved in things you once took pleasure in, you may be at risk of PND.
Sleep Disturbance ? feeling like you cannot get to sleep, cannot stay asleep once you have dozed off, or wake too early in the morning, this sleep disturbance can be part of a depressive illness. It might sound contradictive, but sleeping too much can also be a sign of PND. If you find it hard to wake up, find yourself taking naps during the day and feel tired or sleepy more than usual, these are just as likely to be signs of PND.
Tiredness ? feeling exhausted, lethargic or tired all the time is par for the course when you have just had a baby, but it can also be a sign of depressive illness.
Concentration ? if your concentration span is poor, you find yourself forgetting things easily and you feel like it is difficult to do simple things such as mental arithmetic, spelling and organising things. This is a big hint that there is something more than just tiredness or normal emotional responses going on; you might feel like you are being stupid, getting old or losing your mind, but PND can make you experience all these symptoms.
Appetite Changes ? you may find it almost impossible to eat with no appetite whatsoever, or you may find yourself comfort eating. As a result, weight loss or gain can be a sign of PND.
Anxiety ? you might feel incredibly anxious about your baby or about life in general. This can lead to feelings of not wanting to go out or be in social situations, you might also feel reluctant to let anyone else spend time with your baby. This anxiety could also manifest in feelings of unworthiness, guilt or worthlessness to the extent that you feel unable to care for the child.
Problems Bonding with the Baby ? any parent can find it hard to bond with a new baby. Sometimes love takes time to grow, it is perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed and like you don?t quite feel how you thought you would or how you think you ‘should?. This is a very common symptom of PND and not a reflection of your parenting ability or how much you love your child.
RELATED: What is Post Natal Depression (PND)?
If you recognise the signs and feel that you or someone else is suffering from Post Natal Depression, then seek help from a health professional such as your family doctor or health visitor. The quicker you begin to acknowledge the problem and seek help, the faster you can resolve the issues and move on.
Some further information on postnatal depression can be read at the Rotunda website
The HSE also have a guide entitled: “Postnatal Depression- A guide for mothers, family and friends?