Articles on postpartum depression

Depression in Women: Understanding Women Health Better

Dr. Naveen Jayaram, Psychiatrist
Depression is a common and serious condition which affects functioning, social life, career, and relationships. Women are two to three times more prone to develop depression than men. This gender difference is due to various factors associated with women’s life. Even in terms of symptoms women might experience different and unique symptoms. Earlier women were expected to take responsibility of the family life and social things. In recent times, there is a significant change in the role and responsibilities of women. Most of the women are employed, and it is a real challenge in the modern society to balance work and life.Signs and symptoms of depression:• Sadness of mood• Loss of interest or pleasure in activities which you used to enjoy• Feelings of guilt, hopelessness and worthlessness• Trouble falling asleep or sleeping too much• Decreased appetite or over eating• Difficulty concentrating• Lack of energy and fatigue• Death wishes or suicidal thoughtsCauses of depression in women:Most of the time it is considered that women experience more depression because of hormonal changes they go through, however it is also known that stress coping mechanisms are also different in them. Many events of day to day can also precipitate depression.1. Hormonal changes – Premenstrual syndromes (PMS), Menopause 2. Infertility and pregnancy3. Postpartum depression4. Marital or relationship problems 5. Difficulty balancing the pressures of career and home life6. Family responsibilities such as caring for children, spouse, or aging parents7. Body image issues 8. Discrimination at work9. Harassment and domestic violenceSelf-help tips to manage depression:1. Symptoms of depression are easy to identify, however they are neglected as it is considered just a part of life and it will pass off.2. If symptoms are persistent try to introspect yourself and see why it is happening.3. Try to see is there a link between the menstrual cycles and the emotional symptoms4. Accept that depression can happen to anyone and it is a treatable condition. Have positive feeling every day and think I will come  out of it. 5. Do not try to work very hard to get rid of the negative feelings, remember they take time to disappear and you need to make some time for yourself to deal with it.6. Learn some skills to manage conflicts arising at office and family life. 7. Share what you’re going through with the people you love and trust. 8. Avoid isolating yourself or avoiding situations, try to participate and indulge in activities, even if you are not interested.9. Aim for 6-8hrs of sleep.10. Practice relaxation techniques- Deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, progressive muscular relaxation at least 20min a day11. Exercise every day - it can reduce the symptoms of depression.12. Eat lot of fruits and nuts, sprouts and calcium rich foods.13. Counseling and antidepressant medications are necessary if you are unable to manage your symptoms - kindly seek professional help as soon as possible.

5 Tips to Help You Deal With Depression

Dr. Trupti Vedpathak, Psychiatrist
Feeling sad while facing life stressors is fairly common. But for some people, it may persist for a long time, the intensity may increase & it may start affecting their day to day functioning. Dealing with depressive mood may seem likely a lonely struggle because of the stigma attached & due to the unhelpful comments from near & dear ones, 'Just get yourself together'...'Its just a phase'...Here are some tips to help you deal with your depression..Break the cycle of negativity If you are starting to feel depressed it can be very easy to get into a cycle  of pessimistic thoughts which are difficult to stop, making you more depressed. You may need to understand that your thoughts are getting influenced by your mood & they may not be a reality. Distracting yourself while you get these thoughts, objectively looking at them as coming from a depressed brain & focusing on any positive thoughts may be useful.Keep active
 Regular physical  exercise can be very effective in lifting your mood and increasing your energy levels, and it is also likely to improve your appetite and sleep. Physical activity stimulates chemicals in the brain called endorphins, which can help you to feel better.Initially you may feel reluctant to engage in any activity but once you start doing it even for 10-20 minutes; over a period of time, you may be more likely to continue it once you start seeing its effect.Connect with other people Although you many not feel like it, but even a small talk with your friend or a text message over phone will help you to feel good & sometimes get things more in perspective. It will help you to challenge your negative beliefs about yourselves eg. No one wants to talk to me....I am boring...Care for yourself You need to do things that will improve the way you feel about yourself & reinforce the idea that you deserve good things. E.g. a long bath, a day out with a friend, watching your favourite movie.Avoid quick fix solutions Be cautious with using tobacco, alcohol or other drugs to make you feel better , as these can ,over a period of time make 
your depression worse, and a lot of caffeine can  make you a bit jittery.These tips will help you if you have mild depression. But if you have moderate to severe depression or it is affecting your day to day functioning or you are having suicidal thoughts, it is better to see a trained mental health professional who will need to assess you, order investigations, offer counseling or medication as a solution for your problems.IT'S OK NOT TO BE OK, SO LETS TALK.

Depression- F a Qs

Dr. Amitabha Mukerji, Psychiatrist
In spite of depression being a common illness, many myths and conceptions are associated with it. The stigma attached to mental disorders, in general, is responsible for some of these misconceptions. Also there is inadequate understanding among general practitioners and primary health-care physicians regarding appropriate diagnosis and treatment of depression. For these reasons a large number of persons suffering from depression do not seek help for treatment.1.Myth- Depression is a problem of the Western industrialized world and not of developing countries.Fact- Depression affects all people in all cultures across the world.2. Myth- Depression is due to the influence of witchcraft, magic or sorcery.Fact- Depression is like any other medical illness. It is caused by the interaction of biological and environmental influences and manifests in psychological and physical symptoms.3. Myth-Even if depression is an illness, what can we do about it? We cannot treat it the way other diseases can be treated.Fact- Depression is a treatable disorder. There are many drugs available even in developing countries which are effective and affordable. 4. Myth-Spending scarce resources for treating depression is wasteful expenditure when there are so many other communicable and non-communicable diseases needing attention and which are still not under control in developing countries.Fact- Depression causes considerable suffering among patients worldwide. The burden caused by psychiatric disorders has been underestimated worldwide. At present out of the ten leading causes of suffering globally, five are psychiatric conditions including depression. By 2020, depression will become the second largest cause of suffering- next only to heart disease.5. Myth- There is not enough and there will never be enough trained psychiatrists in the developing countries to look after all the cases of depression. The situation is hopeless and will never improve.Fact- The number of psychiatrists is gradually increasing in the developing countries. Moreover all cases of depression do not have to be treated by psychiatrists. General practitioners and primary health-care physicians can satisfactorily treat this illness with some training.6. Myth- Depression is one’s own creation.Fact- This is completely false. The sufferers cannot be blamed for their illness.7. Myth- Today’s competitive world predisposes a person to depression.Fact- Yes, the world today is very competitive. This may lead to some anxiety and business loss can lead to a person being temporarily sad. However a person should be able to handle such situations in daily life.8. Myth- If a person is depressed, there has to be an external factor bothering him.Fact- External factors are not always necessary to make a person depressed. It is now known that chemical changes in the brain can lead to depression without any external precipitating factor.

10 Things About Depression That Are Actually Not True

Dr. Kiran Shandilya, Psychiatrist
Below are few of the myths that are linked with Depression. Please read them careful.1. Myth: Depression is not a real medical illness.Clinical depression is a serious medical condition that affects not only an individual’s mood and thoughts, but also the individual’s body. Research has shown that depression has genetic and biological causes. Individuals coping with depression have a higher level of stress hormones present in their bodies, and the brain scans of depression patients show decreased activity in some areas of the brain.2. Myth: Even if depression is a medical illness, there’s nothing that can be done about it.Depression is treatable, and more than 80 percent of individuals with depressive disorders improve with treatment. As new medications and treatments are discovered, the number should continue to rise.The first step to finding effective treatment is to get a physical examination by a doctor to rule out other causes for your symptoms, such as thyroid problems. Once you’ve been diagnosed with depression, you and your doctor will decide on a course of treatment, which will include medication, psychotherapy or a combination of both.3. Myth: Depression is no different from getting the “blues” – and this is just a normal part of life.Equating depression with the blues is like saying that a common cold is the same as pneumonia. Everyone gets the blues or blahs from time to time, usually in reaction to disappointment or an upsetting event, or sometimes in reaction to something as simple as a rainy day. But the blues only last a day or two. Depression, on the other hand, can last a lifetime, and the illness is much more pervasive and disabling. No one commits suicide because they have the blues.4. Myth: People who think they have depression are just feeling sorry for themselves.Depression affects about 19 million people annually in the U.S. alone. Some of the most prominent and well-known individuals who have suffered from a depressive disorder include Alexander the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, George Patton, abolitionist John Brown, Robert E. Lee, Florence Nightingale, Sir Isaac Newton, Stephen Hawking, Charles Darwin, J.P. Morgan, Barbara Bush, Ludwig von Beethoven and Michelangelo. Not exactly people who just sit around feeling sorry for themselves.5. Myth: You can will depression away. If you can’t, then you’re weak.Depression cannot be willed away any more than heart disease or diabetes can. It’s caused by chemical changes in the body, which cannot be overcome simply by positive thinking and grim determination. Given how much stigma is still attached to mental illness, seeking help for depression is an act of courage and strength — not weakness — on your part.6. Myth: Depression will go away by itself.For extremely fortunate individuals, depression may go away by itself. But for the rest of us, depression can hang on for months, years or indefinitely. Depression can go away on its own, only to return in the future; once an individual has one episode of depression, they are predisposed to have more. Clinical depression is a potentially fatal disease – and suicide could be the end result of waiting for it to go away without any help.7. Myth: Depression is a normal part of getting older.Depression is not a normal part of aging, but seniors do generally experience more of the events that can trigger depression: loss of family and friends, ill health, isolation and financial worries. Furthermore, people over the age of 60 grew up in an era in which mental illness was not discussed, and they may feel more shame about asking for help than someone from a subsequent generation. The highest rate of suicide of any age group occurs in that of people 65 and older, with men being more vulnerable than women. It’s imperative that seniors with depression seek help.8. Myth: Depression only affects women.Although women report being affected by depression twice as much as men, depression certainly affects men as well. Often, clinical depression is under reported in men, particularly in cultures that discourage them from asking for help or showing any weakness. Furthermore, men have a higher rate of successful suicide attempts than women, so it is crucial that men seek help for their symptoms.9. Myth: Depression does not affect children or teenagers — their problems are just a part of growing up.We’d like to believe that all children experience a happy, carefree childhood, but that’s simply not the case. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, studies show that 1 in 33 children and 1 in 8 adolescents are depressed in any given year. Children are not as practiced at articulating their feelings as adults, so adults must take the initiative to look for and notice symptoms of depression in children.10. Myth: If someone in your family suffers from depression, you will inherit it.In the same way that you can be genetically predisposed to high blood pressure or diabetes, you can be genetically predisposed to depression. This does not mean, however, that if a family member has a history of depression, you are fated to suffer from it as well. Just be aware that your chances of having depression are higher than if you had no family history of the illness, and seek treatment if you start to develop symptoms.Please connect with us on Facebook page: blogspot :

Mental Health Care for New Mothers

Ms. Pallavi Tomar, Psychologist
Arrival of a baby is supposed to be one of the happiest and joyous experiences in a mother’s life. However, some women may experience postpartum disorders following childbirth that may deeply affect their mental health and well-being, in turn also affecting the care of the baby. Having a baby is a significant life change and for many new mothers the lack of sleep and fatigue may take its toll on them. Many new mothers experience what is commonly known as ‘postpartum/ baby blues’. These are mood swings the new mother experiences as a result of hormonal fluctuations post childbirth. Postpartum blues are very common and may be experienced by majority of women. The onset of postpartum blues usually occurs a few days after delivery and should begin to subside as hormone levels stabilise in a weeks’ time. Simple ways in which postpartum blues can be managed:Ensuring a somewhat fixed schedule every day.Help from the partner or other family members. Making sure the new mother gets adequate rest and sleep. Diet must be adequately nutritious.Making sure the new parents get some time to themselves to relax and unwind. Spending time together is also important to reconnect and share feelings.Exercise is effective in uplifting mood. Easing back into some physical fitness routine would be immensely helpful.However, a few new mothers may develop more serious concerns such as peripartum and postpartum depression, anxiety or even psychosis. Hence, it is imperative for new mothers, their partners and care takers to also pay attention to their mental health and feelings of well-being. Peripartum refers to those mood symptoms that occur during pregnancy and postpartum are those that may develop in 4 weeks following delivery. If a person continues to experience mood swings or feelings of depression for more than two weeks post childbirth, the problem may be more serious and special attention must be paid. Signs and symptoms of Postpartum Depression and Anxiety to look out for:The symptoms of postpartum depression are the same as clinical depression, involving persistent low mood, decrease in interest, excessive fatigue and lethargy, crying spells, feeling helpless and inadequate, loss of appetite and sleep, increased irritability, anxiety and panic attacks, intense worry about the child or lack of concern. In rare cases, some women may also experience Postpartum Psychosis. A few signs and symptoms to look out for are:Postpartum psychosis involves presence of psychotic symptoms post childbirth. Women experiencing these symptoms may develop strange beliefs or ideas without any basis, they may hear or see things that are not really there (hallucinations), may become suspicious and paranoid and fear harm from others, they may experience rapid mood swings involving euphoric mood with overactivity to high irritability and anger, may feel disorganised, may have decreased need or inability to sleep. If you or a new mother you know are experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to get help. Both these conditions require intervention by a mental health specialist and hence the patient and their families/friends should seek help immediately. These conditions can be managed well with proper treatment and care.

Does a Healthy Diet Reduce the Risk of Depression?

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Depression is a mental illness marked by feelings of profound sadness and low interest in positive activities. It is a persistent low mood that interferes with the ability to function and appreciate things in life. It may cause a wide range of symptoms, both physical and emotional. It can last for weeks, months, or years. There could be various causes of depression, but poor diet is one of the reasons revealed by researchers.A certain study reinforces the hypothesis that a “healthy diet has the potential to not only ward off depression, but also prevent it," says Ms Anu Ruusunen, MSc, who presented the results in her doctoral thesis in the field of nutritional epidemiology.Depressed individuals often have a poor diet quality and a decreased intake of nutrient rich food. But this is not yet clear in the case of healthy individuals suffering from depression.A healthy diet characterized by vegetables, fruits, cereals, milk and low fat dairy products, pulses, fish, meat and poultry is associated with a lower risk of depression.Increased intake of folate was also associated with a decreased risk of depression because low folic acid levels leads to low SAMe(S-adenosylmethionine), which increases symptoms of depression. By improving folic acid status, SAMe increases, and depressive symptoms drop. Vegetables, fruits, berries, whole-grains, meat and liver are the most important dietary sources of folate.In addition, coffee and tea also act as anti-depressants to an extent because caffeine promotes the production of dopamine (a neurotransmitter released by the brain) which is responsible for the feeling of well being and happiness. But the amount of caffeine consumed should not be more than 300mg per day as caffeine is an addictive substance.Omega 3-fatty acids, which are found in vegetable oil, nuts and fish oil, increase the level of serotonin (known as the happy hormone), which reduces the level of depression. Not only this, essential amino acids like tryptophan play a role in the formation of serotonin. Meat, fish, beans and eggs are good sources of essential amino acids.Having refined carbohydrate and processed foods increases your blood sugar levels and does not provide any kind of nutrient to the body and brain. It even utilizes the mood enhancing vitamin B. Sugar also diverts the supply of another nutrient involved in mood enhancing, chromium. The best way to lower your sugar level is to have food low on the glycemic index.Lastly, Vitamin D deficiency may cause depression because vitamin D is responsible for brain development. So consume vitamin D rich foods such as egg, mushrooms, fish etcDepression is one of the leading health challenges in the world and its effect on public health, economics and quality of life are enormous. Not only the treatment of depression, but even the prevention of depression needs new approaches. Change in dietary and lifestyle factors are one of the possible approaches.So adopt a healthy eating habit to enhance your mood and stay away from depression naturally.

Depression - a Slow Poison

Dr. Naresh Vadlamani, Psychiatrist
Throughout the course of our lives, we all experience episodes of unhappiness, sadness, or grief precipitated by unexpected events like failure in exams, rejection by loved one, death of a close one, personal tragedy or difficulty such as divorce, loss of a job, etc and may feel depressed (some people call this "the blues"). Most of us are able to cope with these and other types of stressful events. Over a period of days or weeks, majority of us are able to return to our normal activities. This is called Normal Reactive Depression.Normal Reactive Depression is different from Medical Depressive Illness.Normal Reactive Depression requires no treatment. Just assurances, supportive empathy and encouragement would be useful. It does not affect day to day activities and routine life. People bounce back within a few days.Medical Depressive Illness is not a normal variation of mood. The symptoms of this disease last for weeks and months and the person suffers a lot affecting their regular pattern of living.It is the illness in the brian's nerve circuits that affects or changes our thoughts, moods, behavior, activity, attitude, habits and personality from what we normally are. Some neurotransmitters like Serotonin, Norepinephrine and Dopamine are less in quantity in some parts of the brain leading to dysfunction of the brain's neural circuits. If one has depressive disease, they are often unable to perform daily activities as before. They may not care enough to get out of bed or get dressed, much less work, do errands, or socialize. During this phase, the depressive illness fluctuates with few normal days of functioning and mood. One may feel better on few days of the week but then the depressive symptoms prevail on most days and gradually the number of days of depressive illness increases. When one meets their doctor, they usually complain of:Headache, back pain, body pains and pains in other parts of the body especially hands and legs.Weakness despite eating well especially in the hands and legs.Tiredness despite doing regular work.Sleep disturbances - difficulty in falling asleep or dissatisfaction in sleep.Decreased appetite.Gastric problems like acidity, constipation and bowel problemsOther psychological symptoms include:Feeling sad or depressed.Loss of interest in job - leading to decreased efficiency,changing jobs and in some job loss; loss of interest in housework - leading to unclean, unkempt house, delays in washing clothes and dishes and cooking food; loss of interest in day to day activities like brushing teeth, bathing, wearing non-ironed clothes and lacking interest in appearance.Feeling tired most of the time despite doing regular or less than regular work leading to postponement of regular work, delayed bill payments and procrastination.Lack of enjoyment or pleasure in activities than before leading to dropping of hobbies, avoiding socialization, going out or watching movies.Feeling lazy, lethargic and being slow leading to postponement of work.Decreased concentration leading to memory problems and forgetfulness leading to poor academic performance or accidents.Decreased confidence, self esteem, self worthiness or feeling inferior to others.Become indecisive, fickle-minded, dependant, unable to organize, plan etc.Thoughts that other people are bad, thinking bad about themselves or ignoring them and will not help them.Thoughts of worthlessness, being a burden to family members, unworthy of love of near and dear ones.Thoughts that the world is a bad place, full of negativity etc.Thoughts of guilt, self hate and frustration.Thoughts that current situation will not improve in future, hopelessness, helplessness and thoughts of being alone in the whole world.Decreased initiation, motivation or enthusiasm than before.More irritability, anger, explosive behavior than before.Sleep disturbances like difficulty in falling asleep leading to internet surfing or watching TV ( channel surfing), waking up early or late, wanting to sleep more and feeling dissatisfied with the sleep.Appetite disturbances( change in eating habits) - not interested in eating or eating more than usual or even late night snackingAll these thoughts lead to sleep medication abuse, alcohol misuse, headaches/backaches (unexplained/no clear medical cause) and pain killer abuse, antacid abuse etc.Ideas, thoughts, plans of wishing to die, suicide harming oneself, suicidal attempts in severe patients.Treatment includes medicines and counseling or psychotherapy including other treatments like Cognitive behavior therapy, supportive therapy.MEDICATIONSAntidepressants are generally prescribed.Treatment is provided by psychiatrists who are medical doctors who have completed specialized training in depressive disorders and treatments.Antidepressant medications are not sleeping pills or addictive in nature.They have to be taken initially at a small dose with gradual increases in doses under supervision of a psychiatrist for about 6 - 9 months on the dose to which they respond.In those who have been suffering from the depressive disease for a long time or repeatedly, the medication have to taken for at least 2 years or longer as advised by the psychiatrist.People with depressive disease can safely be treated in a series of outpatient visits.Hospital care may be necessary for people with more serious symptoms and is required for those who are contemplating suicide or cannot care for themselves.

Yes!! It Is Depression and There Is a Way Out!

Dr. Pradyuth P, Homeopath
Depression is a disorder of major public health importance, in terms of its prevalence and the suffering, dysfunction,morbidity, and economic burden. Depression is more common in women than men. Each year, between 30 and 40 people per 100,000 Indians aged between 15 and 29  are affected by Depression. This accounts for about a third of all suicides in the country.Depression wants to take the joy out of your life, but you don’t have to let it. With proper treatment from traditional talk therapy to medications and lifestyle adjustments, the depression can be cured. People often do not understand that everyone person at some point in their lives go through Depression. Depression is caused not because of external factors like stress, or a bad relationship etc. It is mainly because of our own internal issues. As the saying goes "WHAT YOU EAT DOES NOT KILL YOU BUT WHAT EATS YOU DEFINITELY KILLS YOU". Any disease for that matter is a result because of our own thought process. It is our inability to cope with external factors be it in studies or in work or in any other fields. These factors trigger the disease process,which is outwardly seen as depression or any other disease. So the cause for Depression is within us and the first step to get rid of it is to acknowledge this very fact!Homoeopathy helps in realizing these facts, and with proper medication, the person will be completely out of depression. Unlike other medicines it does not act superficially  but gets to the root of the problem and resolves it. The root cause for the disturbance is found out in a detailed case being taken and then the medicine is administered. In many cases of depression, anxiety disorders, the person will not able to reason out the cause and the reason as to why they are behaving in a particular manner.The medicine helps them to regain balance and confidence about themselves while it brings about an awareness between reality and a delusional world. The medicine also brings a sense of tranquility and peace of mind.So remember, if you feel that all the doors are closed, then there will always be a window open. I can emphatically state that this window can definitely be opened by homeopathy in the field of medical science

Best Foods to Fight Depression

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Depression is a disorder associated with major symptoms such as increased sadness and anxiety, loss of appetite, depressed mood, and a loss of interest in pleasurable activities. Lots of things play a role in getting a person depressed. Most often, it's situational - a loss, a death, a big change in life, social environment, life events, etc. But when it lasts for a very long time, it becomes something more that needs help where the brain doesn't work quite right. Low serotonin levels (the neurotransmitter) are linked to depression, anxiety, insomnia and fatigue.People who are depressed find it difficult to function on a daily basis, they have feelings of worthlessness, and they often lack motivation and are prone to insomnia, in many cases. The benefits of medication and therapy are well known, but there’s another important area to consider, your diet. Important nutrients needed to fight with depression are well described below -Omega-3 Fatty AcidsThese essential fatty acids are needed to build the brain’s neural connections as well as the receptor sites for neurotransmitters such as serotonin. Research has shown people with depression appear to have lower levels of omega-3.Eat more - Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. Flax-seeds, chia seeds and walnuts are also good sources.B VitaminsB vitamins are important for nervous system function and the production of energy from food and are considered “anti-stress” nutrients. They help to relieve anxiety and treat depression. Niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6) and folic acid (B9) all work with the amino acid tryptophan to produce serotonin, the neurotransmitter.Eat more - Legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, green leafy veggies, eggs, chicken, red meat and milk.Eat less - Refined grains and processed foods.TryptophanSerotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible to fight depression, is manufactured in the body using the amino acid tryptophan, which must be supplied through the diet. Tryptophan is also needed to produce melatonin, which is vital for getting enough sleep.Eat more - Lean chicken, turkey, beef, brown rice, fish, milk, eggs, cheese, nuts, bananas, peas, pumpkin, potato, corn and spinach.Trace minerals like selenium, zinc, magnesium, etc. along with antioxidant-rich foods too play an important role in the development of brain and helps keep depression at bay.At last I would like to introduce you with the following 5 foods to fight with Depression -1) Nuts & Seeds: They are a good source of protein and magnesium, which help in the production of serotonin, a “feel-good” brain chemical.2) Green Tea: Despite the caffeine, the L-theanine (an amino acid) found in green tea seems to be profoundly relaxing and have a calming effect, up to eight hours.3) Raw Garlic: Garlic’s anti-oxidant properties play an important role in fighting fatigue-causing free radicals. Garlic contains the highest amount of selenium among foods.4) Avocados: Aside from being the highest source of tryptophan, avocados are also one of the richest sources of protein, folate, and the heart-friendly omega-3 fatty acids.5) Fatty-Fish: There's a reason why fish is known as "brain food". Fatty fish such as wild salmon contain the omega-3 fatty acid - DHA, which has been shown to increase the membrane quality and nerve function of gray matter in the brain.