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so whats the difference between bipolar and postpartum?

By April 23, 2010 - 2:31am
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HERWriter Guide

Dear Mom in need

Thank you so much for your post and congratulations on your new baby! I'm sorry you are going through a really rough time right now.

Bipolar Disorder and Post Partum depression are two different kinds of depression.

Bipolar disorder is described as "Bipolar disorder results in extreme swings in mood, energy, and ability to function. The mood changes of bipolar disorder are more dramatic than normal ups and downs. They can hurt relationships and cause poor job or school performance. Bipolar disorder can be treated.

The two extremes of the illness are mania and depression . In mania, energy peaks. The mood may be overly happy or irritable. In depression, lethargy takes over. The mood may be very blue.

There are three forms of this condition:

Bipolar I disorder involves recurrent episodes of mania and depression
Bipolar II disorder involves milder episodes of mania (called hypomania) that alternate with episodes of depression
Cyclothymic disorder may be diagnosed in patients who experience frequent depressive symptoms and hypomania for at least two years and who have been without symptoms for no more than two months

The cause of bipolar disorder is not known. This condition tends to run in families. Specific genes may play a role. It is most likely many different genes that act together.

Symptoms include:

Dramatic mood swings, ranging from elated excitability to hopeless despondency
Periods of normal mood in between ups and downs
Extreme changes in energy and behavior

Signs and symptoms of mania include:

Persistent and inexplicable elevation in mood
Increased energy and effort toward goal-directed activities
Restlessness and agitation
Racing thoughts, jumping from one idea to another
Rapid speech or pressure to keep talking
Trouble concentrating
Decreased need for sleep
Overconfidence or inflated self-esteem
Poor judgment, often involving spending sprees and sexual indiscretions

Signs and symptoms of depression include:

Prolonged sad, hopeless, or empty mood
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, including sex
Decreased energy or fatigue
Trouble concentrating, remembering, and/or making decisions
Restlessness or diminished movements
Sleeping too much or too little
Unintended weight loss or gain
Thoughts of death or suicide with or without suicide attempts

Severe episodes of mania or depression may sometimes be associated with psychotic symptoms such as:

Disorders of thought

You can read a lot more on our Bipolar Disorder page here: http://www.empowher.com/media/reference/bipolar-disorder#definition

On the otherhand, Postpartum depression (postpartum is the Latin for "after birth") only happens when women have had a baby. It can occur within days of birth, or even up to a year after.

From our Encyclopedia:

Postpartum depression is a type of depression that affects some women shortly after childbirth. It is not uncommon for women to experience temporary mood disorders or "blues" after giving birth. If it goes on for more than a few days, however, it is called postpartum depression.

The cause of postpartum depression is unclear. The cause may be related to sudden hormonal changes during and after delivery. Untreated thyroid conditions may also be associated with postpartum depression.

Risk Factors
These factors increase your chance of developing postpartum depression. Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors:

Previous episode of depression or postpartum depression
Family member with depression
History of severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
Lack of support system and/or strained relationship with partner
History of anxiety disorder

Symptoms may include:

Loss of interest or pleasure in life
Loss of appetite
Rapid mood swings
Episodes of crying or tearfulness
Poor concentration, memory loss, difficulty making decisions
Difficulty falling or staying asleep
Feelings of irritability, anxiety , or panic
Fear of hurting or killing oneself or one's child
Feelings of hopelessness or guilt
Obsessive thoughts, especially unreasonable, repetitive fears about your child’s health and welfare
Lack of energy or motivation
Unexplained weight loss or gain

More serious symptoms associated with postpartum depression that may require immediate medical attention include:

Lack of interest in your infant
Suicidal or homicidal thoughts
Hallucinations or delusions
Loss of contact with reality

Treatment for postpartum depression may include counseling, medication, or both.

Support groups for mothers with postpartum depression can help you see that others are struggling with and triumphing over postpartum depression.

Read a lot more on our PPD page here: http://www.empowher.com/media/reference/postpartum-depression#definition

Mominneed, do any particular symptoms above seem very familiar to you? Which ones?

I am very interested in how your doctor made the diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. This is a serious mental illness and sometimes requires some very serious medications.

Did she interview you? Perform any kinds of tests? Do any lab tests? Were you referred to a mental health professional? I'd really like to know how your testing process was performed? Can you explain it to me, giving as much detail as you can?

Also, please let us know if you or any family member has a history of any kind of depression?

We look forward to hearing from you soon!

April 23, 2010 - 12:00pm
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