Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) are experienced by 1 in 7 moms (including 1 in 3 moms of color) and 1 in 10 dads. PMADs include Postpartum Depression, Postpartum Anxiety, Postpartum OCD, Postpartum PTSD, Postpartum Psychosis, and Bipolar Mood Disorders. Perinatal means they can occur any time between conception to a year postpartum, and interfere with your day-to-day life or functioning.
Parents with Postpartum Depression may experience sadness, anger, irritability, and feelings of guilt, shame, or hopelessness. They may have little to no interest in the baby, have changes in their appetite and sleep patterns, and have little or no interest in things they once used to enjoy. They may also have thoughts of harming themselves or the baby.
Parents with Postpartum Anxiety may experience uncontrollable worry, racing thoughts, and a feeling that something bad is going to happen. They may also experience changes in their appetite and sleep patterns, and may experience physical symptoms such as nausea and dizziness.
Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is characterized by intrusive thoughts, which can be disturbing, persistent, and upsetting. The parent may perform compulsions to keep the intrusive obsessive thoughts from happening. They may fear being left alone with the baby or hypervigilant about protecting the infant. Parents with postpartum OCD are horrified by the thoughts and are unlikely to act on them.
Parents may experience Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after a traumatic pregnancy and/or delivery. Symptoms of Postpartum PTSD may include flashbacks and nightmares, anxiety and panic attacks, and avoidance of anything that reminds them of the traumatic event.
Postpartum Psychosis is extremely rare compared to the other PMADs, and is a medical emergency. It has a sudden onset, and symptoms can include delusions and hallucinations, hyperactivity, paranoia, decreased need for sleep, rapid mood swings, and difficulty communicating. Postpartum Psychosis is temporary, but it is urgent that the parent receive immediate help.
Bipolar I and Bipolar II are often diagnosed in women for the first time in the perinatal period. These disorders are characterized by lows (depression) and highs (mania). Bipolar mood disorders during the postpartum period may appear as severe depression and anxiety, but are distinct because of persistently elevated mood, decreased need for sleep, and periods of above-average productivity.
Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders are temporary and treatable. You can recover and survive.