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my anxiety/depression symptoms went away during my pregnancy and im now post partum and they are returning

By Anonymous August 14, 2010 - 7:53am
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Hi. I'm 25 female. I was diagnosed at 16 with premenstrual dysphoric disorder and put on anti depressants. Well in 2005 hurricane katrine destroyed my parents house (where I was living) and we lost everthing. I temp relocated and was off my meds for a year and felt great. In 2006 I returned to my home state and felt good for a few months then not so good. I began having panic atacks. Along with the panic attacks I had weight gain, hair loss, muscle aches, heart palpatations, heartburn, constipation, memory loss, decreased sex drive among others. It got so bad I could not function. I was on and off diff meds the next 3years. In sept 2010 I found out I was preg (we had been trying to conceive for 3 years). Well during my pregnancy I felt wonderful ALL of my symptoms went away. Now I am 11 weeks post partum and my symptoms are returning. Any idea what could of caused the changes?

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EmpowHER Guest

I am 27 and had my baby 12 weeks ago. I too am now dealing with the returne of my depression and anxiety. While pregnant I felt as if I had been cured and felt I had dodged postpartum as well. But 2 weeks ago it all started to seep back in. I have been dealing with depression and anxiety for most of my life and managing with counseling and a low dose of medication. I really thought "this is it I'm cured "......I don't enjoy life as much and have a unhappieness I carry around with me now.

October 2, 2011 - 4:23pm
EmpowHER Guest

Hi again anonymous,

Unfortunately, there is no clear answer to your question as science (physicians) also question the reality behind the diagnosis. It certainly could be hormones as that is one theory. Maybe you should go see your physician again for a possible answer to which it could be? If it is hormonal, you may be able to be placed on hormone treatment that will help. Can you keep us posted? This is a great question with many possible answers.

August 14, 2010 - 9:48am
EmpowHER Guest

I guess some of it makes sense. But my feelings are CONSTANT except when pregnant. I was thinking it may be due to a hormone imbalance?

August 14, 2010 - 8:55am
EmpowHER Guest

Thank you for your question, anonymous. I am sorry to hear about the ups and downs you have been experiencing as well as losing your home to Katrina. Katrina was a catastrophe in itself.

Researching your question, I came across www.emedicine.com which explains the pathophysiology of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) which associates the disorder due to the theories (1) ovarian hormone hypothesis, (2) serotonin hypothesis, (3) psychosocial hypothesis, (4) cognitive and social learning theory, and (5) sociocultural theory.

Since there are many theories behind the disorder, this could explain why at times you feel better and at times why you feel worse. One suggestion is that while you were pregnant, your hormonal response was at normal levels (for a pregnant woman) which made you feel okay in a sense. The physchological idea about this is explained on the site as such: “The psychosocial theory hypothesizes that PMDD or PMS is a conscious manifestation of a woman's unconscious conflict about femininity and motherhood. Psychoanalysts proposed that premenstrual physical changes reminded the woman that she was not pregnant and, therefore, was not fulfilling her traditional feminine role. Obviously, proving this theory through scientific evidence is quite difficult.” So proving that you can become a Mother in a sense, made you feel normal (as a woman) since that is the idea of why you have periods in the first place.

According to the site on these theories is also “The sociocultural theory hypothesizes that PMDD is a manifestation of the conflict between the societal expectation of the dual role of women as both productive workers and child-rearing mothers. PMDD is postulated to be a cultural expression of women's discontent with the traditional role of women in the society.” While you were at a loss of your home, did you find yourself in a 'Mothering' role? Did you maybe have to care for another individual or family member after Katrina?

The theories seem to reflect the idea that you as a woman has a role which is a caretaker, a Mother or someone to turn to. As your hormones fluctuate, especially during your period, you may have different feelings towards yourself.

Does this make sense to you?

August 14, 2010 - 8:49am
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