Depression has many faces, which is why it is difficult to detect at its early stage. Some people show the visible signs of this mental condition. On the other hand, there are also those who prefer to keep all their feelings of extreme sadness, grief or despair all to themselves. Because of this, it is crucial for you to become more aware of the presence of depression in the life of someone you love just like your wife.
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People describe pregnancy as a beautiful moment where a woman becomes a mother. It’s always painted as a beautiful picture because it is. But people tend to forget all the hardship it brings with it. These hardships test a mother’s physical and mental health.
In reality, pregnancy brings about a lot of different emotions. Not all are positive. There can even be cases where pregnancy leads to severe mental health issues for the mother.
The Connection Between Pregnancy And Mental Health
Being pregnant is an exciting time for the expecting mother, but it’s also challenging. You will have to deal with hormonal changes, fatigue, discomfort, and even pain, in some instances.
Along with these physical difficulties, expecting mothers also have to deal with significant emotional changes. You have to be ready for the stress that comes before, during, and after pregnancy. You also have to be mentally prepared to welcome a massive change in your lifestyle – your baby. These physical and emotional obstacles are why being pregnant can significantly affect an expecting mother’s mental health. It increases the likelihood of the mother experiencing a mental health complication.
Note that both women and men can develop mental health issues during the process of pregnancy. After all, the expecting mother isn’t the only one worrying about her soon-to-be child. Fathers and grandfathers can be equally stressed. But for this article, we shall focus on the mother’s mental health.
Mental Health Problems That May Arise During Pregnancy
Numerous mental health complications can come up due to pregnancy. These can arise during the antenatal period (before the birth) or the postnatal period (after the delivery).
The following are mental health conditions that can arise during the process of pregnancy:
If an expecting mother is not happy about being pregnant or is dealing with a lot of undue stress, she may develop depression. “I see a lot of patients with peri-natal [during pregnancy] depression and postpartum depression. They account for nearly 30 percent of my caseload,” says Kimberly Buckingham, PsyD. It can be present before pregnancy and become more severe during the process. Signs of depression are feelings of hopelessness, anger or irritability, and loss of interest in one’s daily activities.
Anxiety can develop in an expecting mother who is always worried or fearful of things in the future. It includes the anxious feeling that comes with the idea of having to care for a child. “Being depressed often makes us anxious, and anxiety often makes us depressed,” says Nancy B. Irwin, PsyD. Typical signs of anxiety are feelings of restlessness, feeling weak or tired, and having trouble concentrating.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD can develop in women who’ve had a distressing experience while giving birth. It includes feeling severe pain during the birthing. Other, like past miscarriages, can also be a cause for PTSD in expecting mothers. A telltale symptom of PTSD induced by pregnancy is the fear of giving birth if ever one becomes pregnant again.
Expecting mothers who already have mental health complications can have them become more severe during pregnancy. These include the ones stated above. Other mental health disorders that can be worsened or triggered by pregnancy are the following: bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and eating disorders (e.g., bulimia or anorexia nervosa).
Tips For Maintaining Your Mental State While Pregnant
Make taking care of your mental health and well-being a priority, especially while you’re pregnant. Here are some suggestions for doing that:
- Don’t push yourself too much. Only do what you can manage. Ask for help when dealing with things you can’t do yourself.
- Do not make significant life changes during your pregnancy, like changing jobs or moving to a new house. It gives you more things to worry about.
- Keep yourself physically healthy. Eat your meals regularly and get enough rest.
- Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking.
- Talk to your partner or to anyone else you trust about what you’re feeling.
If your mental health is plummeting, it might be time to consult a professional. Talk to a doctor, counselor, or therapist if you start showing symptoms for any mental health disorders. “It’s enormously important that the field start thinking about assessing and treating depression during pregnancy, not just postpartum,” says Ellen Poleshuck, PhD.
Yes, pregnancy is a beautiful thing, but it’s also challenging to deal with, especially for the expecting mother. It brings about a lot of obstacles that can wear down physical and mental fortitude. As such, the expectant mother’s mental health should be prioritized just as much as their physical health.
To all potential mothers out there: Take care of yourself as much as you can. Do this for your sake, your baby’s, and the rest of your family’s. You can get through this.
With all the pressure at school, at home and with their peers, it is not a wonder if teenagers would admit that at some point, they have suffered from mental health issues. According to a study conducted in the United States, there is a high percentage of teenagers nowadays that developed anxiety and depression. Fact is, its occurrence is quite common already that no one seems to notice or was just labeled as “just being a teenager” or “acting up.” But the truth is, this is not the case. Their behavioral health’s on the line.
The common symptoms of mental health issues on teenagers have extreme mood swings, being unreasonably angry, being emotional, hostile, avoiding social interaction, having bad grades, unable to focus, having trouble with sleep and losing appetite. These symptoms may be quite typical amongst teenagers, but if these signs occur more often then, you should pay more attention. And instead of going against your teenager, help him out instead so that he could cope with his problems in terms of mental health.
Don’t Take The Symptoms For Granted
Though being moody among teenagers is quite reasonable, still, you need to be an extra precaution. Try to know how often the mood swings occur and try to understand also the reason why they have those terrible moods. If this episode happens much often and his idea is quite off, then, dig dipper. Have a heart to heart talk. Act on the issue at once so that it won’t get worse.
“We can look at behavior as a window into where a child may need help,” says Steven Richfield, Psy.D. “And if we can take advantage of those circumstances where a child might veer off course as an indication that they need coaching from us and use those as corrective opportunities.” Showing the teenager that you are concerned and willing to get involved with his problem is more than enough for him to get over whatever issues he’s been into.
Know What You Are Dealing With
Once the signs are evident, and the episodes are reoccurring, then, it is time for you to do some investigation. Try to uncover the reasons behind all his issues. Talk to him, talk to his friends and even have a meeting with his homeroom teacher at school. Have an open mind and heart in getting all the facts they will tell you. Directly and indirectly, they can give you details that can help you solve the puzzle. And if still, this technique is not enough, try to get medical attention already. From them, you will get to know what disorder you are dealing with and they can recommend treatments for it.
Go For The Treatment
Once diagnosed, the doctor will recommend treatments. It can be medication or therapy, or even both. Sean Grover, LCSW wrote, “When something goes wrong with their kids, asking for help can trigger feelings of failure or shame in parents. But getting help for your child is an act of compassion, not a sign of weakness.” This may be too much to handle especially knowing that your child is still at a very young age. But undergoing these treatments is the only way that can help him out.
To know which treatment is best for your child, you can ask around, get other medical professional’s opinion and you can also do some research. Talk to your spouse over this issue, and once you have chosen the treatment, it is then essential that you talk to your teenager. He should be aware of your steps, and he should be given a chance to look into the process of the treatment as well. And once you have already settled, make it clear to the other members of the family and the affected teenager as well that you are determined to undergo this process. And that you will need there for support for this.
Get Into Extra Curricular Activities
Instead of isolating world, expose him outside instead. Aside from hanging out with friends, encourage him to get involved with school activities, sports or join clubs. This will help him get his thoughts off his mind and focus on things that give him joy instead. Encourage him to enter into situations that he genuinely likes doing himself. Let him choose, don’t do it for him. The bottom line is, he must go for things he like doing.
Talk to your teenager more often. Hear him out. Have a conversation with him with no judgment, no contempt and even with no emotions. Listen to him and try to analyze what he is going through right now. Assure him that whatever the issue may be, you are still there for him no matter what. Listening to what he has to say is like getting the information first hand. And this information that will be extracted from him can be of help in initiating moves for his recovery.
“You’ll be surprised how far validating your child‘s experience can go in helping them feel heard,” Kristen Eastman, PsyD, says. “Then they’re more receptive to talking about how to get through it.”
Dealing with mental health issues can be tough especially if it involves the person you love most. But to help him effectively, you need to separate your emotions from the situation. Focus on it, know the cause of the said disorder, see a mental disorder professional and get him into treatment. And from there, get focused on getting your teenager better.