Anxiety Depression Causes, Symptoms, Treatments of Anxiety Depression Pregnancy Anxiety Depression


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Coping With Anxiety and Depression During Pregnancy
Psychiatrists who specialize in pregnancy and treatment options that can deliver relief
can help expectant moms suffering from these mental health conditions. Research has shown that up to 33 percent of
women experience clinical depression or an anxiety disorder at some point during pregnancy. Yet some studies indicate that fewer than
20 percent seek treatment, and that treatment is often inadequate, says Healy Smith, M.D.,
a reproductive psychiatrist at the Women’s Mental Health Clinic at New York-Presbyterian
Hospital in New York City. “The myth that pregnant women must be happy
is still really prevalent,” Dr. Smith explains. “Because of that, treatment providers may
be less likely to inquire into a woman’s mental state, and a woman might feel ashamed to bring
it up.” But you don’t have to suffer — there are
safe ways to treat depression and anxiety during pregnancy. Antidepressant Medication
If you’re currently taking medication for depression or anxiety, consult your psychiatrist
before you stop. A 2006 study published in the Journal of the
American Medical Association showed that “women who discontinued an antidepressant around
conception had a 68 percent chance of recurrence of depression during pregnancy, compared to
26 percent for those women who continued their medication,” says Stephanie Ho, M.D., a reproductive
psychiatrist in private practice in New York City. Of those that relapsed, the majority had to
restart their medication during pregnancy. Finding Support and Specialists
If you’re pregnant and you’re having depression and/or anxiety symptoms, talk to your ob-gyn
or midwife. She should be able to treat you directly,
or connect you with the appropriate mental health care provider. These organizations can also offer confidential
help: Postpartum Support International will connect
you directly to a local coordinator who can help you find local resources, offer support,
and give you tips on managing mood and anxiety disorders during and after pregnancy. 10 Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety
It can be tricky to diagnose mood disorders during pregnancy because “some of the symptoms
can overlap with symptoms of pregnancy, such as changes in appetite, energy levels, concentration,
or sleep,” Dr. Smith says. “It’s also normal to have some degree of worry
over the health of the pregnancy.” But if you experience persistent symptoms
of depression and/or anxiety, especially if you’re unable to function normally, get help. Symptoms of depression include: Being in a depressed mood most of the time
for at least two weeks No longer enjoying the things you used to
enjoy Decreased interest in the world around you
Guilt A sense of worthlessness
Low energy Poor concentration
Appetite changes Feeling hopeless
Thoughts of suicide Getting too much sleep, or not enough sleep The symptoms of anxiety vary by type of anxiety
disorder, and include: Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Excessive worry that’s difficult to control
Irritability Tension/muscle aches
Disrupted sleep patterns Feeling restless inside
Fatigue Poor concentration Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Recurrent, persistent, intrusive thoughts
Compulsions to relieve those thoughts through repetitive thoughts or behaviors Panic disorder: Recurrent panic attacks
Persistent fear of having a panic attack 10 Risk Factors for Anxiety and Depression
Anyone can experience depression or anxiety during pregnancy, but women with these risk
factors are especially susceptible: A personal or family history of a mood disorder,
such as depression or anxiety A history of premenstrual dysphoric disorder
(PMDD) Being a young mother (under the age of 20)
Having poor social support Living alone
Experiencing marital conflict Being divorced, widowed, or separated
Having experienced traumatic or stressful events in the past year
Feeling ambivalent about being pregnant Pregnancy complications
Having a low income Having more than three children Risks of Untreated Anxiety and Depression
During Pregnancy “There are well documented, but often overlooked,
consequences of untreated depression and anxiety during pregnancy for the fetus and the mother,”
Dr. Smith says. Risks to developing babies whose mothers have
untreated depression or anxiety during pregnancy include: Low birthweight
Premature birth (before 37 weeks) Low APGAR score (which rates a newborn’s health
after delivery) Poor adaptation outside the womb, including
respiratory distress and jitteriness Risks to the mother include: Suicide
Pregnancy termination Postpartum depression or anxiety
Use of substances such as alcohol or drugs Impaired attachment to the baby
Not taking good care of her physical health Preeclampsia
Preterm labor Having a C-section Treatment Options
There are several therapies that don’t involve medication and are therefore considered generally
safe for a developing baby. For women who need medication, there are low-risk
options that can deliver real relief. Nonmedicinal Approaches
The following treatments have been shown to help pregnant women with mild to moderate
depression. Psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral
therapy (CBT), in which a skilled therapist teaches new approaches to managing thoughts
and emotions Omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are found
in foods such as oily fish and walnuts, and can act as a natural mood-booster
Light therapy, in which patients are exposed to artificial sunlight at specific times of
the day to help relieve depression symptoms Acupuncture, a Chinese practice that (in this
case) involves placing tiny needles into areas of the body thought to influence mood Antidepressant Medication
If you’re currently taking medication for depression or anxiety, consult your psychiatrist
before you stop. A 2006 study published in the Journal of the
American Medical Association showed that “women who discontinued an antidepressant around
conception had a 68 percent chance of recurrence of depression during pregnancy, compared to
26 percent for those women who continued their medication,” says Stephanie Ho, M.D., a reproductive
psychiatrist in private practice in New York City. Of those that relapsed, the majority had to
restart their medication during pregnancy. Finding Support and Specialists
If you’re pregnant and you’re having depression and/or anxiety symptoms, talk to your ob-gyn
or midwife. She should be able to treat you directly,
or connect you with the appropriate mental health care provider. These organizations can also offer confidential
help: Postpartum Support International will connect
you directly to a local coordinator who can help you find local resources, offer support,
and give you tips on managing mood and anxiety disorders during and after pregnancy.

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