25 October 2011

Become part of the solution.

"PostPartum Depression is all in your head."
"PostPartum Depression isn't actually a health matter."
"PostPartum Depression is a thought process"
"You don't actually need medication to deal with PPD."
"It's just a mood."

These are all things that people say. Some of them have been said to and/or about me, some of them to/about my friends, some of them to/about other people. These statements represent actual thought processes of real people who are alive today. Such mindsets are the result of a lack of education and understanding. I do not say this to insult anyone, but this is the result of ignorance on the part of those who say such things.

To those who hold such scorn, indifference, and disbelief, I offer this: do you believe yourself to be smarter and better educated in such matters than medical professionals? Did you know that there is research that proves that it is more than just a "way of thinking" or a "bad mood"? Allow me to present some information that states otherwise.

"What causes depression? What about postpartum depression?There is no single cause. Rather, depression likely results from a combination of factors:
  • Depression is a mental illness
  • that tends to run in families. Women with a family history of depression are more likely to have depression.
  • Changes in brain chemistry or structure are believed to play a big role in depression.
  • Stressful life events, such as death of a loved one, caring for an aging family member, abuse, and poverty, can trigger depression.
  • Hormonal factors unique to women may contribute to depression in some women. We know that hormones directly affect the brain chemistry that controls emotions and mood.
  • We also know that women are at greater risk of depression at certain times in their lives, such as puberty, during and after pregnancy, and during perimenopause. Some women also have depressive symptoms right before their period.
Depression after childbirth is called postpartum depression. Hormonal changes may trigger symptoms of postpartum depression. When you are pregnant, levels of the female hormones estrogen (ESS-truh-jen) and progesterone (proh-JESS-tur-ohn) increase greatly. In the first 24 hours after childbirth, hormone levels quickly return to normal. Researchers think the big change in hormone levels may lead to depression. This is much like the way smaller hormone changes can affect a woman's moods before she gets her period.
Levels of thyroid hormones may also drop after giving birth. The thyroid is a small gland in the neck that helps regulate how your body uses and stores energy from food. Low levels of thyroid hormones can cause symptoms of depression. A simple blood test can tell if this condition is causing your symptoms. If so, your doctor can prescribe thyroid medicine."

womenshealth.gov is a project of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health.

Another study at http://www.studentpulse.com/articles/558/case-study-examining-postpartum-depression-symptoms-and-treatment has this to say:
“Multiple investigations into the etiology of postpartum depression have not reached a consensus” (Leopold & Zoschnick, 1995), hence the inclusion of it in the DSM-IV as separate category diagnostically different from Major Depression. Biological theories suggest that deregulation of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine, epinephrine, and dopamine serve as the origin of PPD. Other biological factors included prolactin levels are rise throughout pregnancy and fall during delivery, and have been considered to be a factor in the onset of PPD. O’Hara, Schlechte, Lewis, & Varner (1991) presented conflicted results showing higher levels of prolactin on postpartum days 2, 4, and 6, while lower levels in by week 6 postpartum. Other hormonal factors such as estrogen levels which decrease significantly in the postpartum period and regulate mood, memory, and cognition and brain function has been thought to play a major role in the onset of PPD. “The specific effects are best characterized in the dopamine system where estrogen increases dopamine turnover through the regulation of tyrosine hydroxylase, degradative enzymes, and turnover dopaminergic receptors” (Leopold & Zoschnick, 1995, n.p.).
Does all of this sound like a "bad mood"? If it were just a mood, would medical treatment help? If you are someone who has believed and said things such as "It's just a bad mood", I give you this challenge: Do your own research. Hit up Google, Bing, or any other search engine with phrases such as "Postpartum depression cause" and "postpartum depression study". What I've copied and pasted here is just a scratch on the surface. There is a wealth of information out there. Educate yourself and then educate others. It is through education and public awareness that PostPartum Depression and other PostPartum Mood Disorders will become better understood. Educate yourself and become part of the solution.


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