May 16 | By Rachael
Jessica (name changed) was on cloud nine after giving birth to her first baby. It was probably the biggest joy of her life. However, excitement was not the only feeling she experienced, it was blended with worries about raising her daughter. Soon, the thought of taking care of her child overwhelmed her so much that she found it difficult to get a sound sleep. “My anxiety level was devastating,” said the Houston mom.
It’s common to experience some degree of anxiety after delivery. Surveys show that a majority of new mothers experience “baby blues,” which usually disappear within a few weeks. However, some moms like Jessica find it tough to cope with their excessive fear, which is commonly known as postpartum anxiety (PPA). Experts feel that PPA is more common than postpartum depression (PPD). However, PPA is less reported due to lack of knowledge and awareness about the condition.
Postpartum anxiety is a serious mental disorder, which exhibits symptoms like sudden changes in eating and sleeping patters, dizziness, hot flashes, rapid heartbeat, nausea, and inability to focus on a particular task. Studies show that 16 percent of pregnant women and 17 percent of new mothers grapple with PPA. Unlike normal anxiety, this mental condition does not get cured on its own. Instead, it can worsen and lead to panic attacks or depression. The condition can pave the way for negative thoughts, wherein, the mother can harbor feelings of harming the baby and then blaming herself for not being good.
However, postpartum anxiety is not like psychosis, where people see and imagine things or hear voices. In case of PPA, the woman is aware of her thoughts but horrified by them. The symptoms of the condition are associated with paralyzing fear that affects everyday life, thereby making it difficult for the new mother to develop a healthy and pleasant relationship with her newborn.
Similar to postpartum depression, the exact cause of postpartum anxiety is not known. However, experts believe the condition develops due to changes in the hormones that occur during pregnancy and after childbirth. Further, factors like sleep deprivation, changes in the relationship with others, new schedules, and the responsibility of giving round-the-clock care to the baby also contribute to the development of the mental disorder.
According to mental health professionals, the risk of developing PPA during pregnancy is higher for women with a history of anxiety. Besides, women with a family history of anxiety or depression, eating disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are more vulnerable to PPA. Also, women who have had a miscarriage or stillbirth are more susceptible to postpartum anxiety after a healthy delivery.
The good thing is that postpartum anxiety is treatable with thorough medical intervention. The condition can be treated with medication, therapies or a combination of both, depending on its severity. However, the most important thing is to seek treatment with the onset of the symptoms. In general, women tend to shy away from acknowledging PPA symptoms, assuming them to be short-lived. Therefore, there is a greater need to create awareness about PPA, with women being encouraged to report their symptoms at the earliest.
If you or a loved one is suffering from any type of anxiety disorders or experiencing the symptoms, seek assistance from the Texas Anxiety Treatment Help to know about the finest anxiety disorder treatment centers in your vicinity. Call at our 24/7 helpline number (866) 487-5015 or chat online with our experts to get connected with one of the best anxiety treatment centers near you.Continue Reading