Differentiating between Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression

 

Postpartum Depression pic
Postpartum Depression
Image: webmd.com

Consulting psychiatrist Carol Lynn Childers works for Trilogy Behavioral Healthcare, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that provides services for individuals with serious mental illnesses. Dr. Carol Lynn Childers also serves as a consulting psychiatrist for the Jennifer Mudd Houghtaling Postpartum Depression Foundation.

The “baby blues” is a colloquial expression used to describe the common experience parents have following the elation of the birth of a child. As the lack of sleep and inability to regularly engage with friends, family, and hobbies begin to catch up with new parents, many begin experiencing exhaustion and mood swings. In 10 to 15 percent of new mothers, this can lead to a more significant condition called postpartum depression (PPD).

A number of indicators suggest PPD, but the most basic symptoms are hopelessness and chronic sadness. Tiredness and frustration are part of the newborn experience for parents, but depression is not.

A general timeline can help differentiate between baby blues and PPD. Baby blues typically lasts about two weeks, while PPD generally does not end without intervention and intensifies as the days go by.

In addition to sadness, guilt is a common symptom of PPD. Again, questioning the decision to become a parent is common for women, but extended crying spells resulting from excessive doubts about motherhood are likely an early symptom of PPD.

Other common symptoms of PPD include difficulty making decisions, irregular sleep patterns, and a lack of interest in things that used to bring joy. Parents who feel their issues extend beyond the baby blues should discuss their concerns with a physician.

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CDC Reports Increase in Overdose Deaths in Illinois

Overdose Deaths pic
Overdose Deaths
Image: zerohedge.com

Dr. Carol Lynn Childers is a consulting psychiatrist with Healthcare Alternative Systems and Trilogy Behavioral Healthcare. After serving in private practice and at facilities such as Methodist Hospital of Chicago, Dr. Carol Lynn Childers has spent a large portion of her career working with patients who have substance abuse disorders.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of drug overdose deaths in Illinois rose nearly 10 percent between January 2017 and January 2018. During this 12-month period, 2,760 deaths from drug overdoses were reported to the CDC. This was 236 more than the number of overdose deaths the previous year. The jump was mirrored by nationwide overdose deaths, which rose more than 6 percent in the same period.

While this number includes methamphetamine, cocaine, and other illicit drugs, the Illinois director of the Department of Public Health believes that opioids are the primary cause of overdose deaths. In the past year, powerful synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, have become more common in Illinois.

State officials have attempted to address this issue by making naloxone, an overdose-stopping medication, more widely available. Illinois also implemented a program to give naltrexone, a medication that blocks opioid effects, to people being released from jail or prison.