Most women are familiar with the “baby blues” or the more severe postpartum depression (PPD), a term that has become a catchall for mental health issues following the birth of a child. However, many new mothers experience a different mental health issue that rivals the number of women with PPD. Postpartum anxiety (PPA) is a condition with unique symptoms. The problem is, physicians have no screening tool for diagnosing it. As a result, they may misinterpret these symptoms as signs of a depressive disorder.
Anxiety is a natural response to both real and perceived threats. However, people with anxiety disorders can develop a constant, irrational fear of a situation, place, or object, even though it poses little to no physical danger. Some individuals picture scenarios in their head that involve injury to a loved one, while others have recurring flashbacks to a traumatic event. Around 40 million people in the U.S. experience some type of anxiety disorder, but only about one-third receive treatment. Doctors diagnose women with anxiety disorders more often than men.
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