Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders
Becoming a mother is often a powerful and transformative life transition. For me, this role has brought intense feelings of joy, love, empowerment, and connection. It has also increased my awareness of the depths of sadness, isolation, desperation, conflict, anxiety, and fear that this time of transition can bring for many women. Motherhood can be a time of reevaluation and change, and change is often unsettling. There is, however, a fine line between temporary destabilization and illness.
The word "perinatal" refers to the period before, during, or after birth. Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) affect between 10 – 20% of women, with even higher rates for low-income women, and can affect women of every culture, age, income level, and race. Symptoms can appear at any time during pregnancy and the first 12 months after childbirth. Although many people only know the term “postpartum depression,” PMADs include several illnesses, each with their own cluster of symptoms and treatments. They include:
- Perinatal Depression (PPD), commonly referred to as “Postpartum Depression”
- Perinatal Anxiety (PPA)
- Pregnancy or Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (PPOCD)
- Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PPTSD)
- Bipolar Mood Disorders
- Postpartum Psychosis (PPP)
Symptoms of PMADs can include:
- Lack of interest in the baby or loss of interest, joy, or pleasure in things you used to enjoy
- Crying and sadness
- Feelings of anger, irritability, guilt, shame, or hopelessness
- Possible thoughts of harming yourself or the baby
- Constant worry or racing thoughts
- Compulsively doing certain things over and over again to manage fears (ie: checking things many times)
- Flashbacks or intrusive re-experiencing of a past traumatic event
- Experiencing a mood that is more elevated than normal or rapid mood swings
- Paranoia and suspiciousness
- Delusions (strange beliefs) or Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)
ANY of these symptoms and MANY MORE could indicate that you are suffering from a Perinatal Mood or Anxiety Disorder. Please know that you do not need to continue to suffer. With appropriate care you can prevent a worsening of these symptoms and can fully recover. There are effective treatment options available and I would be happy to guide and support you on this path. To consult or schedule an appointment with me, call (206) 819-8042, email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or click HERE.
To learn more about PMADs you can visit Postpartum Support International (PSI).