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When a New Baby Isn't a Bundle of Joy

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The good news about postpartum depression, she says, is that treatments are very effective. "Here at our program at UCLA, we have about a 96% response rate. So, the vast majority of women get better."

Treatments include antidepressants, psychotherapy, and/or marriage therapy, usually for six months to a year. Women who have suffered from depression repeatedly in the past may have to keep taking antidepressants for an extended period of time.

So, what symptoms can you watch out for to if you're concerned?

  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping excessively, even when the baby is awake
  • Appetite changes
  • Extreme concern and worry about the baby or a lack of interest or feelings for the baby
  • Feeling unable to love the baby or your family
  • Anger toward the baby, your partner, or other family members
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Fear of harming your baby. These thoughts may be recurrent, and you may be afraid to be left alone in the house with your baby.
  • Irritability
  • Sadness or excessive crying
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • Feelings of doubt, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, or restlessness
  • Lack of energy or extreme fatigue
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or other usual activities
  • Mood swings
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Numbness or tingling in your arms or legs
  • Hyperventilating
  • Calling pediatrician constantly because of concerns over your baby, with an inability to be reassured
  • Thinking about death all the time, which may include thinking about or even planning suicide
  • Obsessive compulsive features, including intrusive, repetitive thoughts and anxiety
  • Exaggerated high and low moods

If you're experiencing even a few of the symptoms above, you should call your doctor, so that he/she can reassure you, or so that you can come up with a treatment plan together.

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