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Consequences of untreated antenatal or postnatal depression

 
When antenatal or postnatal depression is left untreated or poorly managed, you and relationships in every part of your life can be affected. If the condition is left untreated, depressive symptoms will generally worsen over time. We take a look at some of the common consequences and what to do if you need help.
When antenatal or postnatal depression is left untreated or poorly managed, you and relationships in every part of your life can be affected.  
 
If the condition is left untreated, depressive symptoms will generally worsen over time.
 

Common consequences

 
Some of the common consequences of untreated antenatal or postnatal depression include:
 
  • Poor attachment between you and your child. This can result in psychological and behavioural issues for your child later in life.
 
  • Breakdown in the relationship with your partner.
 
  • Strained relationships with friends, work colleagues and family members.
 
  • Struggling to handle the stress of everyday demands such as work, study or parenting, which in turn could result in having to withdraw from work or study.
 
  • Withdrawing or isolating yourself from social situations.
 
  • A reduced ability to function in terms of taking care of yourself or your child/ren.
 
  • Increased severity of depression that can lead to hospitalisation, and sometimes separation from your child/ren for a period of time.
 
  • Increased likelihood of long-term or chronic depression.
   

Do you need help?


If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, you may find that the following steps will help you:
 
1. Understand the degree to which you are depressed.
   
  • The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale is a screening tool made up of 10 questions that helps provide an indication of depression or anxiety.
 
  • If the questions generate a score between 10 and 17, it may indicate mild-moderate depression.
 
  • A score above 17 may indicate moderate-severe depression.

2. Seek help
 
  • If you have mild to moderate depression, seek help from your GP and organisations such as Mothers Helpers.
  
  • If you have moderate to severe depression, you can ask your GP to refer you to Maternal Mental Health if you have a young baby or to Community Mental Health if your child is older. 
 
3. Talk therapy
 
  • Talk therapy is proven to help significantly.
 
  • You can find affordable/free counselling through organisations like Mothers Helpers, Maternal Mental Health or Community Mental Health.
 
4. A holistic approach
 
  • Look at your mental health from a holistic perspective.
 
  • Physical, mental, emotional/psychosocial, spiritual and cultural aspects of ourselves are all connected and impact on one another.
 
  • If you can make improvements in these areas, then that will also help on your road to recovery.
 

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Source: This article was written by Mothers Helpers - Supporting mums under stress.
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