Postpartum Depression
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Female Depression and Suicide

Many millions of women worldwide experience clinical depression each year. It is widely believed that about one in eight women are likely to suffer from clinical depression at some point in their lives.


Postpartum mood disorder

One mood disorder is quite common following the birth of a child. If you have recently given birth you may now be feeling physically and emotionally drained. Apart from being exhausted, anxious, depressed, under the weather or simply not yourself. You may also be experiencing feelings of anger and inadequacy. Not just tearfulness, loss of interest in pleasurable activities, change in appetite, energy and sleep. Don’t worry if you are—this situation is apparently much more common than we would like to believe.  With this horrible truth in mind, it is important for you to recognize that you really are not alone. A great many new mothers (and even those who have previously given birth) are totally unprepared for the emotional turmoil which they could find themselves experiencing following the birth of a baby. These feelings are said to vary in both intensity and frequency and when they are all grouped together are called postpartum mood disorders.


A woman suffering from a severe form of post natal depression killed herself just hours after being told by a NHS psychiatrist “Your doing fine”. Angela Harrison jumped off an 18 metre (60ft) cliff four months after giving birth, her husband, Anthony said yesterday. The 31 year old, from New Quay, Cornwall, had been diagnosed with post natal psychosis. An inquest into her death is yet to be set.

 Metro Date: 13.10.05


Expert opinion informs us that these 'symptoms' are both temporary and treatable with skilled professional care and social support. Care and support are important factors in returning to feeling like yourself again. But the first step in your recovery must involve knowing exactly what the problem is. After all you can't fix a problem until you know exactly what the problem is.

We are informed that depression occurs most frequently in women aged 25 to 44.


Many factors in women may contribute to depression, such as developmental, reproductive, hormonal, genetic and other biological differences (e.g. premenstrual syndrome, childbirth, infertility and menopause).


Social factors are also identified as being an area which contributes to higher rates of clinical depression among women. Domestic problems. Family pressures and responsibilities. Work and career related stress. General expectations of women. Financial worries. The increased rates of sexual abuse. Poverty


Gender Differences

It is commonly believed that women suffer from depression at approximately twice the rate that men do. Whilst girls aged 14 - 18 have higher rates of depression than boys of the same age. 



  • Twenty to forty percent of women may experience premenstrual syndrome and an estimated 3 to 5 percent have symptoms severe enough to be classified as Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD).


  • Married people have a lower rate of depression than those living alone.  However, unhappily married people have the highest rates of depression; happily married men have the lowest rates.
  • Approximately 10%-15% of all new mothers get Postpartum depression which most frequently occurs within the first year after the death of a child.   Co-occurring Illnesses
  • Research shows a strong relationship between eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia nervosa) and depression in women.  About 90-95% of cases of anorexia occur in young females.9  Reported rates of bulimia nervosa vary from one to three out of 100 people.6
  • Research shows that one out of three depressed people also suffers from some form of substance abuse or dependence.


  • Although men are more likely than women to die by suicide, women report attempting suicide approximately twice as often as men.
  • An estimated 15 percent of people hospitalized for depression eventually take their own lives.


  • Depression in women is misdiagnosed approximately 30 to 50 percent of the time.
  • Fewer than half of the women who experience clinical depression will ever seek care.

Fortunately, clinical depression is a very treatable illness.  More than 80 percent of people with depression can be treated successfully with medication, psychotherapy or a combination of both.

Women’s Attitudes Toward Depression:

According to a National Mental Health Association survey on public attitudes and beliefs about clinical depression:

  • More than one-half of women believe it is “normal” for a woman to be depressed during menopause and that treatment is not necessary.
  • More than one-half of women believe depression is a “normal part of aging.”
  • More than one-half believe it is normal for a mother to feel depressed for at least two weeks after giving birth.
  • More than one-half of women cited denial as a barrier to treatment while 41% of women surveyed cited embarrassment or shame as barriers to treatment.
  • In general, over one-half of the women said they think they “know” more about depression than men do.