Symptoms of Postpartum Mood Disorder

March 22, 2012 — 1,484 views  
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Postpartum mood disorder (PPMD), often referred to as postpartum depression, is one of the major mental health disorders affecting women. As a social work professional, it's important to be able to recognize its symptoms and understand how to refer the women you work with to the proper courses of treatment.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine states that PPMD is more likely to affect women who are under 20 years old or who abuse alcohol or drugs. Other risk factors are emotional, including unplanned pregnancies, extraordinarily stressful events during pregnancy or delivery, a personal or familial history of mental illness, financial problems and a lack of support from family, friends or a significant other.

Symptoms of PPMD are largely in line with those of standard depression. These include irritability, sadness, lack of energy and interest in regular activities and work, trouble sleeping, negativity toward the newborn child, anxiety and thoughts of death or suicide. Additionally, those negative feelings can manifest as actions harmful to the baby.

Social workers interacting with those who show strong signs of PPMD can help point these women in the right direction. In addition to recommending a consultation from a mental health professional to prescribe medication and therapy, you may want to recommend that women with the disorder be open about their feelings, get plenty of rest, make time to socialize and join a support group for women with PPMD.