Friday, March 30, 2012
Today we’d like to take a moment to talk about a serious, but treatable, condition: Postpartum Depression. It is a mental health problem that affects an estimated 9-16 percent of new mothers1.
So what is it exactly? Well, postpartum depression is a type of depression that occurs after a woman gives birth. It is thought to be caused by all of the significant shifts in hormones. Particularly (new research has begun to show) by a type of estrogen called estradiol2. Not to mention that of course while the body is going through these changes, the person themselves is dealing with things such as an entirely new family dynamic.
More common than postpartum depression is what we call ‘baby blues’. It is experienced by roughly 50% of new mothers2. For the first couple weeks after giving birth, new mothers can just feel kind of out of it and not quite like themselves. So it can be kind of hard to tell if it’s just ‘baby blues’ or depression. Baby blues, however, tend to be very limited and does go away on its own relatively soon and quickly. When it gets more intense, and goes on for a longer period, it becomes a serious form of depression. Postpartum depression can come with a loss in interests; affect your ability to function, lead to sleep disturbance and withdrawal. It is an especially big problem because it comes at a time when all of a sudden you are supposed to be caring for a new life.
It also can really have an impact on your family. A child whose mother has postpartum depression can withdraw, have development issues, and are at a higher risk to develop anxiety disorders and depression of their own. Postpartum depression can also affect the father. After all, he is also dealing with the same family and marital changes1 and not having the mother at 100% makes it all the more difficult.
Part of what makes postpartum depression so heartbreaking is knowing how much the new mom is missing out on. The depression takes them away from enjoying their newborns first days and weeks. Not fully being able to experience having a new addition to their family. So if you or someone you know is suffering from postpartum depression, please contact our practice. Symptoms of postpartum can be alleviated through psychotherapy.
1 Postpartum Depression Retrieved March 28, 2012 from American Psychological Association. Website: http://www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/depression/postpartum.aspx
2 Groundbreaking Research into Postpartum Depression Retrieved March 28, 2012 from National Institute of Mental Health. Website: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/media/video/postpartum-depression.shtml
Friday, March 23, 2012
My name is Dvora Gautieri and I just wanted to take a short moment to introduce myself. I have recently come aboard with Abrams and Associates to kick start our social media outreach program. Basically, you’ll be seeing me pop up on our Twitter, our Facebook, and right here on our blog. You should also look forward to our monthly newsletter starting up in the next month or two.
What all of this is meant to do is to just open up discussion. There are so so many topics for us to learn about together, and just maybe we’ll help better each other’s lives. So I hope you’ll join in with us from time to time.
Next week will hopefully bring a blog post about women’s mental health and sexual education, but for now I hope you’ll enjoy some of the articles we have on our website (http://abramsandassociates.com/articles-resources/). I’ve been in the middle of reading one of Dr. Kay’s column that was published in Washington Parent Magazine. It talks about parenting in an age full of anxiety and the differences between parenting in previous generations and what today’s generation faces. “For example, children can no longer run around outside with a sense of freedom, nor can they always solve their own problems without adults intervening”. I personally also think this reminder is very important “Step back and try to see your child for who she is, rather than what you expect or need her to be”. To read from from her article “Parenting in the Age of Anxiety” click here
Well, that’s all for now. I look forward to speaking with you all soon. Have a great weekend!
Friday, March 2, 2012
In honor of NEDA week, we’re looking at the different types of eating disorders and the confusing messages about food. We’ve also shared a couple of good articles that look at these issues from a parenting perspective in our sources section.
The messages we all receive about food are confusing, to say the least. They tend to get divided into two camps: one that involves eating tons of fast food and binge eating and one that involves trying to be as skinny as possible. These two camps also directly correspond to the three major eating disorders.
Anorexia is a disorder in which the person starves themselves. They literally are so afraid of any amount of fat, of gaining any weight that they eat next to nothing. Someone with Bulimia binge eats and then purges themselves by doing things such as forcing their body to throw everything up. Then there is a disorder involving straight binge eating. Someone eats and eats and eats1. This leads to obesity and other health issues such as diabetes2(Taylor, Zanthe).
If you’re in doubt of the seriousness of these issues, you should know “that they have the highest rate of mortality for any mental illness”2 (Taylor, Zanthe).
Sounds rather bleak, we know. So it is also important to understand that eating disorders are not really about eating. Often there are underlying addiction and/or mood disorders as well as developmental issues and interpersonal deficiencies.
So what can we all do? What can you do as a parent? Well, Dr. Kay has several things to say on the subject. Starting with understanding that one of the places children learn eating habits is from watching you. If you eat healthy, it will help them. If you binge eat, they’ll think that’s okay too. “It’s a tough balance,” says Dr. Kay “You have to try and give a moderate and flexible approach to food and body without talking too much about it.” Pushing a ‘healthy’ lifestyle too much can create anxiety as well as a fear of fats and fear of diabetes or heart disease. Anxiety is contagious and what underlies anorexia is anxiety. Yet, the opposite extreme is just harmful. You just have to do your best to help them understand.
In addition to leading by example, parents should try things such as having set meal times, eating as a family, and not having an open 24/7 pantry policy. Try finding active activities to do with your child; even just taking an evening walk3.
Most of all make sure they understand you love them no matter what. Teach them to love themselves no matter what. Combine that with a healthy lifestyle and you’re already giving them a better starting point.
For more information and up to date news on eating disorders and the fight against them, please visit the National Eating Disorders Association website: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/. If you or anyone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, please seek help from a mental health professional.
1 “What is an Eating Disorder” National Eating Disorders Association 2005 http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/nedaDir/files/documents/handouts/WhatIsEd.pdf
2 Taylor, Zanthe “The Conflicting Messages on Parenting and Food” Psychology Today, 2/24/12 http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/million-meals/201202/the-conflicting-messages-parenting-and-food
3Dr. Kay’s article “Eating Disorders: Is Your Child at Risk?” http://abramsandassociates.com/wp-content/articles/EatingDisorders_IsYourChildAtRisk.htm