Postpartum Depression Vs Postpartum Anxiety: Whats The Difference
Unlike postpartum depression, which can cause mothers to experience extreme sadness or even disinterest in their newborn, postpartum anxiety symptoms mainly manifest in the form of worry. You constantly feel worried and on edge, says Sara Gottfried, M.D., author of The Hormone Cure. I think of postpartum anxiety as the loss of the normal sense of balance and calm, and postpartum depression as a loss of heart.
Unfortunately, postpartum depression is the disorder thats talked about most, so many moms arent sure what to think once they start experiencing intense worry. We call postpartum anxiety the hidden disorder because so few moms recognize it and it goes undiagnosed, says Dr. Abramowitz. It hasnt been discussed or studied much, even though its likely more common than postpartum depression.
Its also important to note that PPD and PPA often go hand in handabout half of women who have postpartum depression also have anxiety. If youre anxious and its getting in the way of your life, you may begin to feel depressed about that and vice versa, Dr. Abramowitz says.
Read Also: How To Get Rid Of Fight Or Flight Anxiety
Will More Serotonin Get Rid Of My Anxiety
Serotonin deficiency, while a major factor in persistent anxiety, is not necessarily the only factor. Nor is increasing serotonin levels a guaranteed cure for anxiety. Your beliefs, thought patterns, health, lifestyle, and environment are all factors that may occur in a number of combinations.
Whether you are naturally low in serotonin or you have become so primarily due to external stressors, it is important to do two things. First, it is important to address external stressors . Second, it is important to make a serotonin-boosting change to your lifestyle that is both healthy and sustainable. This may consist of eating healthy and exercising often.
Studies have shown that a decrease in anxiety may also boost serotonin, even when it’s naturally low. So keep in mind that you have a good chance of boosting your serotonin levels no matter the cause of your low serotonin. The section below will provide an overview of the different ways of boosting your serotonin levels and which will give you the most long-lasting relief.
Will I Pass My Anxiety Down To My Children
Not necessarily. Statistics show that children born to anxious parents have a higher chance of going on to have anxiety, but its still just a chance. Plenty of children with anxious parents dont develop anxiety.
If you have anxiety and are concerned about passing it to your children, the most important thing you can do is get treatment for your own anxiety.
Then, educate yourself. Anxiety can take a variety of forms, from specific phobias to generalized anxiety even eating disorders. Signs of anxiety can look different in children and teens. Watch for things like:
Unhealthy eating habits
Avoidance of social situations
Youll be in a good position to find treatment early if your child runs into trouble.
Children can be successfully treated for anxiety, and they can learn tools for handling anxiety if it becomes a problem again in the future.
Recommended Reading: Define Aerophobia
What Are The Best Treatments For A Child With Anxiety
The data are clear: Many studies show that the best way to treat the growing problem of childhood anxiety better than a placebo, better than pharmaceutical approachesis with cognitive behavioral therapy . It gives children the tools to disarm anxiety for a lifetime. Working with a therapist, usually in a course of 12 sessions, children acquire the ability to face their worries. They learn what triggers their anxieties and they learn that the perceptions of threat that send distress signals throughout their body are nevertheless false.
They learn how to rationally challenge those perceptions, and to substitute negative thinking patterns with positive ones. CBT teaches the anxious to question their beliefs and learn that feared situations are safe. Another widely validated treatment is exposure therapy, particularly for phobias and social anxiety. In a safe setting children are gradually introduced to the element that triggers their fears, until they are no long reactive to it. It is highly affective.
What Are The Risk Factors For Depression And Anxiety During Pregnancy Or After Birth
Depression and anxiety during pregnancy or after birth can happen to anyone. However, several factors make some women more likely than others to experience one or both of these conditions. These risk factors include:
- A history of depression or anxiety, either during pregnancy or at other times1
- Family history of depression or anxiety2
- A difficult pregnancy or birth experience3
- Giving birth to twins or other multiples4
- Experiencing problems in your relationship with your partner5
- Experiencing financial problems6
- Receiving little or no support from family or friends to help you care for your baby7
- Unplanned pregnancy8
Depression and anxiety during pregnancy or after birth dont happen because of something you do or dont dothey are medical conditions. Although we dont fully understand the causes of these conditions, researchers think depression and anxiety during this time may result from a mix of physical, emotional, and environmental factors.
Also Check: Schizophrenia Progression
You Were Born A Nervous Baby
The Theory: Some of us really are just born this way.
The Research: Harvard psychologist Jerome Kagan has spent several decades tracking babies from birth to adulthood and found that the ones who were most stressed out by “novel stimuli” as infants â i.e. babies who hated strange noises, toys, and smells â typically grew up into anxious teens and adults. Those anxious individuals showed brain differences from infanthood on, with MRIs revealing thicker cortexes among anxious infants. Researchers aren’t totally sure which is the anxiety chicken and which is the anxiety egg â do anxious people develop thicker cortexes, or do thick cortexes cause anxiety? â but they do hope that this can help people get earlier and more effective treatment.
None of these factors will magically help you alleviate your anxiety, of course â but they might help us better understand our own anxiety, which can often feel totally inexplicable when we’re in the thick of it. And perhaps most importantly, this information can be used to shut down people who think anxiety isn’t a real disorder, and is “all in your head.” Yeah, it is all in my head â right in my thick-ass cortex, chump!
Images: Disney Giphy
What Is A Highly Sensitive Person
An HSP is someone born with a trait that has four key features, summarized by the acronym, DOES.
- D stands for Depth of Processing:Highly Sensitive People process things deeply. They reflect more often and intensely. Especially on their own internal workings, relationships, and decision making. They make connections in their mind that other people respond to by saying they never thought of it that way.
- O stands for Over-arousal/Overstimulation:The five senses of a Highly Sensitive Person respond intensely and easily. Certain smells, sounds, or textures are overwhelming sometimes in good ways and sometimes not. Crowds, bright lights, and loud noises can also be overwhelming usually in the negative sense of the word. They can activate the same fight or flight response we spoke of at the beginning of this article. As a result, theyre likely among the first in certain environments to feel overstimulated.
- E stands for Emotion responsivity and Empathy: Highly Sensitive People feel emotions intensely. They also worry about the health and welfare of vulnerable people and animals. When they see a flower that reminds them of a loved one, for example, they become sentimental. Sometimes HSPs empathy is so strong that they can feel others emotions even when the people themselves do not feel the emotions.
HSPs are anxiety prone because they process thoughts and feelings deeply. Because of how deeply they experience the world, theyre more easily and quickly overstimulated.
You May Like: Sesquipedalophobia Definition
The Highly Sensitive Person And Anxiety: Why Hsps Are Prone To Anxiety
Highly Sensitive People are born with a genetic trait called sensory processing sensitivity. Basically, that means they have a super responsive nervous system. As a result, a Highly Sensitive Person is, typically, shall we say, well acquainted with anxiety.
Lets define anxiety, talk more about HSPs, and then discuss the overlap.
Anxiety is a combination of fear and stress. It is a normal, common emotion.
Think of anxiety as a form of worry, uneasiness, and/or nervousness.
Do Children Get Anxious If A Parent Is Anxious
Children can get anxious if a parent is anxious, but that doesnt in any way indicate how the anxiety is transmitted. Often, anxiety is transmitted to children unwittingly through an array of parental practicestalking to children about adult concerns, depriving children of opportunities to learn coping skills, and through accommodating childrens anxiety. Anxiety, with its payload of physical and cognitive distress, is a natural mental state, and, as with all emotional experiences, children benefit from learning constructive ways of handling the distress.
Too often, however, contemporary parents protect their children from the distress of anxiety and accommodate the children in avoiding anxiety-provoking conditions. The upshot, studies show, is that children become more anxious and intolerant of uncertainty, never learning how to become comfortable with the discomfort, how to persist in spite of it, or how to tackle the problem that is the source of the anxiety.
Read Also: Sex Differences In Depression
Characteristics Of People With High
If you can relate to the above symptoms then you need to understand these characteristics of a person with high-functioning anxiety:
You might have high-functioning anxiety if:
- You excel in your job but struggle with personal and social relationships.
- Your anxiety makes you look like youre ambitious.
- You look and act put together but in reality, youre struggling.
- Any change in your routine makes you upset.
- Your mind is constantly on and refuses to calm.
- You often zone out when in the company of others.
- You get upset over small things that many people think arent a big deal.
- You cancel plans because youre low on energy.
- Your day off feels like a workday.
- Youre constantly misunderstood by others because you seem put together and fine.
Recovery Is Possible With Treatment
Recovery from an anxiety disorder is possible with the right treatment and support. Effective treatments for anxiety disorders may include:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy aims to change patterns of thinking, beliefs and behaviours that may trigger anxiety.
- Exposure therapy involves gradually exposing a person to situations that trigger anxiety using a fear hierarchy: this is called systematic desensitisation.
- Anxiety management and relaxation techniques for example deep muscle relaxation, meditation, breathing exercises and counselling.
- Medication this may include antidepressants and benzodiazepines.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Phobia Of Long Words Called
Behavioral Inhibition In Childhood
Do you know a toddler or young child who always becomes extremely upset when confronted with a new situation or unfamiliar person? When faced with these types of situations does the child cry, withdraw, or seek the comfort of a parent?
This type of behavior in toddlers and young children is known as behavioral inhibition. Children who show behavioral inhibition as a toddler are at greater risk for developing SAD later in life.
Because this temperament shows up at such a young age, it is likely an inborn characteristic and the result of biological factors.
If you are concerned that your child is excessively withdrawn or fearful in new situations, it may be helpful to discuss your worries with a professional. Since we know that behaviorally inhibited toddlers are more likely to become socially anxious children and socially phobic adults, any kind of early intervention may help prevent more serious problems later in life.
How Does Treatment For Anxiety Disorders Help
Treatment can help manage, reduce or even eliminate the symptoms associated with anxiety disorders. Treatment can include:
- psychological therapy an effective treatment for most people affected by anxiety disorders
- medication may also be helpful.
Once a diagnosis is made, treatment can be provided by a GP, or they may give a referral to a psychiatrist, psychologist or other suitably qualified health professional.
With the appropriate treatment and support, most people can learn to deal with their symptoms and get on with their lives again.
Recommended Reading: Is Prozac Good For Panic Attacks
Ways Children Learn Social Anxiety
- Direct conditioning: Did you forget your lines in the class play? Did other kids make fun of you or were you the victim of constant teasing or bullying? While it is not a necessary trigger, going through an early traumatic event may have an impact on the development of social anxiety, sometimes years later.
- Observational learning: If you did not experience a traumatic event yourself, did you see someone else in a traumatic social situation? For those already vulnerable to the disorder, this may have the same impact as going through the situation firsthand.
- Information transfer: Fearful and socially anxious parents unknowingly transfer verbal and non-verbal information to their children about the dangers of social situations. If your mother worries a lot about what other people think of her, chances are you have developed some of this same anxiety yourself.
Your upbringing can also impact the likelihood that you will develop SAD. You are more likely to develop the disorder if:
- As a child, you were not exposed to enough social situations and were not allowed to develop appropriate social skills.
- One or both of your parents was rejecting, controlling, critical, or overprotective. Children that do not form a proper attachment to their primary caregiver are at greater risk because they can’t calm and soothe themselves when in stressful situations.
What Are Psychological Treatments
Psychological treatments play a vital role in the treatment of people with Anxiety disorders. This type of treatment helps by giving an opportunity to talk about thoughts and feelings with a psychiatrist, psychologist or other suitably-qualified health professional in a structured way.There is a range of psychological treatments for Anxiety disorders, of which cognitive behavioural therapy is one of the most effective for managing symptoms. Other forms of psychotherapy may also be of value in dealing with related issues.
Recommended Reading: Diabetes Symptoms Anxiety
How To Help Your Anxious Child
If your child is having problems with anxiety, there’s plenty you can do to help.
Above all, it’s important to talk to your child about their anxiety or worries.
Read more about how to help an anxious child, including self-help tips for parents of anxious children.
Many children at different ages may have anxieties that will go away after a while, with your reassurance.
However, it’s a good idea to seek professional help or reassurance yourself if your child is constantly anxious and:
- it’s not getting better, or is getting worse
- self-help is not working
- it’s affecting their school or family life, or their friendships
What Does Anxiety Look Like In A Child
Anxiety is an increasingly common problem among children today. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 7 percent of children age 3 to 17 have a diagnosed anxiety disorder the average age of onset is 11 years. Yet many believe that anxiety is vastly underdiagnosed and underrecognized in children. Children often display anxiety by asking repetitive what if questionsWhat if theres a fire? What if you get sick? Logical explanations and attempts at reassurance dont suffice. Children may reveal anxiety in expressing concern about an event very far off in the future. They may be overly or unnecessarily apologetic, suggesting worry whether others have reason to be upset with them.
You May Like: Pristiq Sleep
How Is Anxiety Diagnosed
To be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, youll have to speak to a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, licensed professional counselor , or social worker.
Youll discuss your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Theyll also speak to you about your symptoms and compare your symptoms to those outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders .
Without The Safety Mechanism Of Anxiety Humans Would Not Have Survived
These days, fight-or-flight activation can easily be a false alarm. No longer are there lions or their equivalent chasing you. The threat in the present is more benign, like having a first date or arriving late to an appointment. Much less is usually at stake than being attacked by a ferocious beast. But, our nervous system doesnt distinguish.
Recommended Reading: Topamax Bpd
Brain Areas Involved In Anxiety
- The brain stem
- The limbic system
- The prefrontal cortex
- The motor cortex
A study of blood flow in the brain published in 2001 found differences in the brains of social phobics when speaking in public. For this study, they used a type of neuroimaging called Positron Emission Tomography .
The PET images showed that people with social anxiety disorder had increased blood flow in their amygdala, a part of the limbic system associated with fear.
In contrast, the PET images of people without SAD showed increased blood flow to the cerebral cortex, an area associated with thinking and evaluation. It seems that or people with social anxiety disorder, the brain reacts to social situations differently than people without the disorder.
Certain Areas Of Your Brain Are More Developed Than Others
The Theory: Certain areas of our brain control or amplify our fear responses â and those areas are shaped differently among people with anxiety than they are among others.
The Research: Cognitive scientists at UC Berkeley found that two factors in brain development were common among people who were anxious â an overactive amygdala and an underactive ventral prefrontal cortex. The researchers subjected test subjects to random recordings of someone screaming they found that subjects with very active amygdalas showed higher-than-average fear responses when subjected to the screams. Those same subjects also didn’t seem to be able to engage their ventral prefrontal cortex, which calmer study members engaged as they coped with their fear when hearing the screams.
Though the study didn’t come to any conclusions about why some of us have robust amygdalas and weak-ass ventral prefrontal cortexes, they did believe that their research may have opened the door for a new form of anxiety treatment â one based around stimulating the ventral prefrontal cortex.
Also Check: Definition Of Phobia