Removing the shroud of mystery surrounding Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders moves the needle closer to prevention and treatment. It also helps to normalize talking about it, so that people know they are not alone.
PMADs is a collective name for multiple disorders
Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders is a name given to a group of disorders that new or expectant moms can experience. It includes depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, and psychosis. Each disorder and related the symptoms can appear alone, in combination, and to varying degrees. A diagnosis from a medical practitioner is a crucial first step to avoiding adverse long-term effects by receiving the proper treatment and support needed to foster recovery. PMADs are temporary and treatable by combining peer-support, self-care, talk therapy, and if needed, medication.
PMADs can develop during pregnancy
Often thought of as a post-delivery challenge, mood and anxiety disorders can start long before baby arrives. The perinatal period includes pregnancy, and up to one-year post delivery. Symptoms may be subtle or overt, sudden or gradual. Many women don’t realize what they’re experiencing and may need help to recognize the signs and seek assistance. With early diagnosis, a treatment plan, and support can reduce overall effects and recovery time.
PMADs may not look the way you think it does
If asked to say the first feeling associated with PMADs, sadness often comes to mind. However, the symptoms of each disorder can vary, and be atypical. Anger, frustration, panic, and reclusiveness are just as common. As a general rule, if any of these symptoms affect the person most of the time and negatively impact the quality of life, treatment may be necessary. As a first step, taking the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale can help to determine whether someone should take additional steps.
PMADs affect a lot of people
Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders affect up to 1 in 4 expectant or new moms, making it a significant public health concern (Statistics Canada, 2019). It can also affect fathers, and other caregivers. With such high numbers, someone you know has likely suffered, often in silence. By learning more, and becoming part of a vital support system parents need as they adjust to the new normal, we can lessen the long-term effects. In fact, prevention and reduction of PMADs are possible just by taking part in a peer support system. LWAB offers peer support at many levels, such as https://lifewithababy.com/calendarsocial events, HOPE support groups, and free and pay what you can therapy.