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Can Post-Partum Depression Lead to Addiction?

Can Post-Partum Depression Lead to Addiction?

Post-partum depression is a type of severe depression that follows a mother giving birth

Post-partum depression is often misunderstood by individuals in Des Moines, which leads to a number of misconceptions. To appreciate the connection between post-partum depression and addiction, it is vital to first understand post-partum depression well.

What is Post-Partum Depression?

Post-partum depression is not the same as what is commonly referred to as baby blues. It is more clinically significant. At its core, post-partum depression is an instance of severe depression that correlates to a mother giving birth. Similar to severe depression, each individual responds differently, but the most common symptoms of post-partum depression include the following:

  • A depressed mood, often but not always accompanied by anxiety
  • Loss of interest in things that are normally pleasurable
  • Changes in weight, eating habits and sleeping patterns
  • Thoughts of self-harm

It is not only first-time mothers in Des Moines who struggle with post-partum depression. Neither is it necessary for post-partum depression to begin immediately after birth. Indeed, it is not uncommon for an episode to begin four months or more after a child’s birth.

The causes of post-partum depression are uncertain, but this mental health condition is believed to be the result of changes in one of three areas including the following:

  • Physical changes specifically changes in hormone levels, blood pressure and metabolism
  • Emotional strain related to sleep deprivation and anxiety as a result of having a young child to care for
  • Lifestyle influences, such as an unhappy or demanding young baby, a perceived lack of support from family and financial difficulties

It is additionally of note that recent research has identified a strong interrelationship between previous drug use and post-partum depression. The research also points to a weaker connection between chronic illnesses and post-partum depression. Further, post-partum depression may be more common than anticipated with up to 16 percent of mothers in Des Moines experiencing post-partum depression.

Self-Medication Can Lead to Addiction

Post-partum depression is often looked down upon, and there is an assumption from society that an individual in Des Moines struggling with this mental health condition somehow lacks strength or stability. For this reason, post-partum depression often goes undiagnosed as the individual struggling will not seek professional medical help. Instead, she may turn to self-medication in which she attempts to stifle or minimize the symptoms of her post-partum depression with drugs or alcohol.

Choosing to self-medicate creates two related problems. Self-medicating ignores the underlying problem. A person in Des Moines can mask her symptoms by self-medicating, but this does not change the existence of the mental health condition. Once the drug wears off, she is still depressed. Indeed, she is perhaps even less prepared to deal with the stressors of this life because she is training her body to require a drug to function well. Self-medicating adds the problem of addiction. Not only is the mental health condition not being addressed, an individual is adding an addiction on top of their existing condition.

First Steps to Break the Power of Self-Medicating

The road to freedom from addiction is a difficult one in Des Moines and can be more challenging with an underlying mental health condition. But there are some first steps that can provide the guidance and support to begin down this path including the following:

  1. Take a mental health inventory of yourself – Begin to consider if your drug use is masking a mental health condition by asking yourself a few difficult questions: Do you take the medication to escape dark times? Do you need the drug to calm your emotions?
  2. Ask friends and family – Those closest to you will know if you are masking deeper problems. You have to decide on the front end to listen to their answers you might not want to hear though, so it is best to commit to not overreacting.
  3. Get a professional opinion – Schedule a consultation with a counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist. You will find the next steps there.

You Do Not Have to Suffer in Silence

It is unfortunate that a stigma still exists around post-partum depression. A woman suffering in Des Moines from this mental health condition will often feel as though her depression is somehow her fault. Worse yet, she may feel as though her post-partum depression is a reflection of his parenting as if this is proof that she does not love her children. Neither as true, but both are incredibly damaging to an individual’s emotional stability. It is often out of this instability that addiction is birthed, but it is not a direct result of the post-partum depression. Post-partum depressions can be overwhelming, but it is also treatable as is any addiction you may be struggling with as a result of your depression.

The risks and the cost are too high. If this is where you are right now, the most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. We can help you. We can answer your questions. The admission counselors at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline can help you learn more about addiction. They can help you or your loved one find his or her way.