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Having a baby is an exciting and unforgettable experience for new moms. However, it also brings about new challenges, like adjusting to life with a newborn, lack of sleep and getting to know this new person in your life. Before giving birth, you probably expected to feel nothing but happy and proud. However, many women develop something called the baby blues. When this happens, feelings of stress, weepiness, vulnerability and forgetfulness are extremely common. In fact, anywhere from 70 to 80 percent of women experience the baby blues.

The baby blues are fleeting and should fade by the time your baby is about two weeks old. If you just cannot get past those sad feelings, though, you may have what's called postpartum depression (PPD). PPD is an extremely common mood disorder that occurs in about 10 percent of women after giving birth. If you have postpartum depression, it is important to seek the help of a qualified mental health professional before it gets a firm foothold in your life.

But how do you know if you have the baby blues or PPD? Here are some differences that will clue you in.

Baby Blues vs. Postpartum Depression

Most women who have PPD don't realize it. If you have been wondering why your baby blues just won't go away, it could be because you have been struggling with PPD. But how can you tell the difference? Those with the baby blues experience some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Drastic mood swings from extreme happiness to sadness
  • Weepiness
  • Stress
  • Forgetfulness
  • Vulnerability
  • Exhaustion that keeps you from taking proper care of yourself
  • Irritability
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Anxiety

Unfortunately, the symptoms for postpartum depression are very similar to those above:

  • Sadness and hopelessness
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Crying often
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Believing you're not doing a good job as a new mom
  • Difficulty bonding with the baby
  • Difficulty eating or sleeping
  • Overwhelming despair that makes caring for the baby difficult
  • Anxiety or panic attacks

Symptoms do tend to be more intense with PPD than with the baby blues, but it can still be difficult to tell the difference. The main thing to look out for is how long your symptoms have lasted. If these feelings have persisted for two weeks or more, then it's more likely you have PPD rather than just the "baby blues". If that's the case, then the next step is seeking treatment.

Knowing When to Seek Professional Help

Another difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression is how to treat them. The baby blues usually fade on their own. Eating right, getting enough sleep, relaxing, exercising and getting help from friends and family are often the only things you need to help work past these feelings. PPD, on the other hand, is an actual mood disorder, which makes it harder to deal with on your own.

The faster you get professional help for your postpartum depression, the sooner you can begin enjoying life with your new baby and your family. At Brookhaven Retreat, we can help you deal with your postpartum depression symptoms in a safe and supportive environment. We are women-only residential facility that specializes in the treatment of mental health issues. Contact us today to start your journey to recovery.

Published in Brookhaven Blog

Pervasive feelings of confusion and instability can become an everyday experience in the life of someone with borderline personality disorder, or BPD. Imagine living every day on a roller coaster and never knowing if you'll experience high highs or low lows. If you have BPD, these constantly changing emotions can leave you feeling scared and defenseless. Unfortunately, it's not always easy to diagnose BPD as it's often confused with other mood disorders like bipolar disorder.

If everything in your life feels unstable — relationships, your mood and even the way you think — then it's time to find the truth. Receiving a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder may feel daunting, but it's the first step to feeling better. If you're not sure if you or a loved one has BPD, then it's important to understand the symptoms associated with this mental health disorder and seek professional help.

1. Unstable Behavior

The main symptom associated with BPD is a pattern of unstable behavior. This characteristic shows itself in all areas of life, from how you view yourself to how you perceive other people and circumstances. The main ways that instability manifests itself in those with BPD include:

  • Intense relationships where how you feel about someone changes dramatically, such as idealizing them one second to devaluing them the next
  • An unstable self-image, which interferes with your identity
  • Unstable emotions that fluctuate between depression, irritability and anxiety that last for hours or even days

2. Panicked Efforts to Avoid Abandonment

Whether it's real or imagined, you might often have intense fears of abandonment which can cause you to lash out at others. Sometimes you may feel that those you love are rejecting you. Other times there's intense anxiety over the slightest change in your external conditions. That's because those with BPD often have an acute sensitivity to environmental circumstances.

Feelings of abandonment affect the way those with BPD feel and behave. For instance, if someone you love is running a few minutes late, do you get panicked? Does the thought of being alone terrify you?

3. Impulsive Behavior

Another symptom of borderline personality disorder is impulsive actions. This symptom can show itself in many ways depending on the person, such as:

  • Going on a spending spree
  • Engaging in risky sexual behavior
  • Binge eating or drinking
  • Driving recklessly
  • Developing a substance abuse problem

4. Suicidal or Self-Harmful Behavior

One of the more scary symptoms associated with borderline personality disorder is thinking about or actually harming yourself. Whether it's a cry for help or stems from feelings of self-loathing, these behaviors are terrifying for those close to you. Some people with BPD hurt themselves, such as engaging in cutting. Others think about, threaten or even attempt suicide.

5. Severe Dissociative Symptoms

If you feel removed from the circumstances in your life or even your own emotions, then you are experiencing feelings of disassociation. Whether this only happens when you're stressed or has become a recurrent problem, this could lead you to feel empty inside.

It's Okay to Ask for Help

If you've received a BPD diagnosis or you're unsure if you have the condition, there is help for you. With the right treatment and support, those with borderline personality disorder can improve their circumstances. The first step, however, is seeking help.

Brookhaven Retreat is a treatment facility for women only that specializes in the treatment of mental health problems like BPD. Our beautiful facility located in the foothills of Tennessee's Smoky Mountains is the perfect place to confront your BPD with the compassionate assistance of our highly qualified staff. If you're ready to make a change and get help, contact us today.

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Wednesday, 07 November 2018 19:28

Postpartum Depression (PPD) Facts & Statistics

The birth of a child is a joyous event for new mothers. This brand new life brings a huge variety of changes, from sleepless nights and adjustments in your daily schedule to unbelievable happiness at every milestone your baby reaches, like their first smile or coo. How could something so wonderful be tainted by any sadness? Unfortunately, for many women, postpartum depression (PPD) can overshadow the birth of a child with a deep sense of sadness, exhaustion and extreme anxiety.

PPD is a mood disorder that occurs after childbirth. It can take on many forms and affects a huge percentage of new mothers. The exact number of women with postpartum depression is hard to pin down. After all, what new mother wants to admit that she is struggling with depression when the birth of a child is supposed to bring nothing but joy? This means many women are struggling with PPD who remain undiagnosed.

If you are struggling with postpartum depression after giving birth, you are not alone. PPD is a pervasive disorder worldwide. To understand the magnitude of this mental health issue, here are some statistics that reveal just how common postpartum depression is.

Postpartum Depression Rates

Because of the shame many new mothers feel when they experience PPD symptoms, the exact number of those with the disorder is unknown. However, most experts agree that the following statistics give us a rough idea on the rate at which postpartum depression occurs:

  • Between 70 to 80 percent of women in the United States admit that they have the "baby blues."
  • One in seven women will likely experience depressive symptoms after giving birth. That's 600,000 women in the U.S. alone.
  • PPD can also affect women who have miscarried or who have experienced a stillbirth.
  • Globally it's believed that postpartum depression impacts tens of millions of new mothers.
  • Because PPD often goes unreported, these numbers may actually be twice as prevalent as what's believed.

PPD Risk Factor Statistics

It doesn't matter your race, ethnicity, educational status or socioeconomic level, postpartum depression can impact anyone. PPD has even been experienced by adoptive parents and new fathers, especially if the mother has postpartum depression. Although no one knows what causes PPD, there are risk factors associated with the development of the disorder:

Know When to Ask for Help

Postpartum depression is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. If anything, the statistics above should show you how common this disorder really is. PPD usually develops within the first year after the birth of your child. If you find that you're sad, hopeless, moody or anxious after giving birth, the compassionate staff at Brookhaven Retreat can help. We are a women's only residential treatment center specializing in the treatment of a variety of mental health issues. Contact us today to find out more about our treatment programs and how we can help you recover.

Published in Brookhaven Blog