Predicting Postpartum Depression: 4 Factors to Determine Risk & the Severity of Symptoms

For many women, giving birth is the most joyous event of their lives. But, every year, for more than 3 million women in the U.S., child birth results in the development of postpartum depression—and it can be devastating for mother and child alike. Most cases of postpartum depression are resolved within a matter of months, with such treatments as talk therapy, antidepressants, and ketamine infusions. However, some cases of postpartum depression can worsen in time, ultimately increasing the mother’s risk for developing chronic, severe depression.

Postpartum depression doesn’t just affect mothers. Their children are proven to be at a greater risk for developing mental health disorders and other ailments, such as ADHD and autism.

Until now, there has really been no way of telling whether a woman will develop postpartum depression or not, but a new study has identified four factors that could predict not only whether a woman will develop postpartum depression, but also how severe the symptoms will be. Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the four factors that could predict postpartum depression are:

1. How many children they have

2. Their general ability to function at work, in relationships, and on a day-to-day basis

3. Their education level and access to resources

4. The severity of depression at 4-8 weeks postpartum

Researchers found that, using these factors, at 6-weeks postpartum, they were able to predict how long a mother’s depression would last, and how severe it would be. And they were able to predict these things with almost 73% accuracy!

The symptoms of postpartum depression aren’t unlike the symptoms of clinical or severe depression: trouble sleeping; feelings of worthless; inexplicable guilt; difficulty focusing; and general emotional distress. However, the longer the symptoms of postpartum depression go untreated, the bigger the risk that it could evolve into chronic, severe depression. Using the predictors indicated in NIMH’s study could help doctors proactively address depressive symptoms and prevent the condition from escalating.

As a treatment for postpartum depression, ketamine infusions are a highly viable option. Ketamine rapidly alleviates the symptoms of depression, which is especially important for women suffering from postpartum depression. Postpartum depression generally lasts about six months, but ketamine treatments, if used in this setting, are likely to attenuate the symptoms significantly during this crucial period. Using ketamine for postpartum depression provides both mother and child with the benefits of good maternal mental health.

Contact Vitalitas

VItalitas has been administering ketamine infusions for several years now, and has performed thousands of infusions on patients suffering from a wide array of mental and physical conditions. If you or a loved one is suffering from postpartum depression, clinical depression, anxiety, or a chronic pain condition, please contact us to find out if you are a candidate for ketamine. Ketamine is effective in up to 70% of patients—it has changed many lives, and it could change yours, too.

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