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- Postpartum Depression
- Mixing Drugs & Alcohol
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
- Mental Health during Covid-19
The birth of a baby can trigger a jumble of powerful emotions, from excitement and joy to fear and anxiety. But it can also result in something you might not expect — depression.
Most new moms experience postpartum “baby blues” after childbirth, which commonly include mood swings, crying spells, anxiety and difficulty sleeping. Baby blues typically begin within the first two to three days after delivery, and may last for up to two weeks.
But some new moms experience a more severe, long-lasting form of depression known as postpartum depression. Rarely, an extreme mood disorder called postpartum psychosis also may develop after childbirth.
Postpartum depression isn’t a character flaw or a weakness. Sometimes it’s simply a complication of giving birth. If you have postpartum depression, prompt treatment can help you manage your symptoms and help you bond with your baby.
When to see a doctor
If you’re feeling depressed after your baby’s birth, you may be reluctant or embarrassed to admit it. But if you experience any symptoms of postpartum baby blues or postpartum depression, call your doctor and schedule an appointment. If you have symptoms that suggest you may have postpartum psychosis, get help immediately.
It’s important to call your doctor as soon as possible if the signs and symptoms of depression have any of these features:
- Don’t fade after two weeks
- Are getting worse
- Make it hard for you to care for your baby
- Make it hard to complete everyday tasks
- Include thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
The Effects of Mixing Stimulant Drugs & Alcohol
Research data looking at the effects of mixing drugs suggests that it is not rare for individuals who abuse alcohol to also take stimulant medications. Most often, the use of alcohol in conjunction with a stimulant medication is undertaken to reduce the effects of the stimulant medication (take off the edge or the shakiness associated with stimulants while at the same time maintaining high levels of energy and euphoria). Some individuals may use stimulants to deal with the lethargy associated with heavy alcohol use, but this is less common.
College students who abuse stimulant medications that are normally used to treat ADHD are also notorious for drinking alcohol in conjunction with abusing these stimulants (by snorting them). The labels of prescription stimulant medications and even over-the-counter medications strongly urge users not to consume these medications with alcohol.
There are numerous potential interactions that can occur when one uses central nervous system stimulant drugs and alcohol in conjunction with each another, just to list a few:
· Alcohol negates the medicinal effects of a stimulant drug. When an individual uses a stimulant with alcohol, more of the stimulant is required to experience its medicinal effects.
· Individuals who abuse stimulant medications like cocaine, methamphetamine, or Ritalin with alcohol also experience a dampening of the effects of the stimulant that can lead to them taking more, even to the point of overdosing.
· The combination of alcohol and stimulant medications severely reduces an individual’s cognitive capacities far more than the use of either drug alone. Individuals will experience a more rapid decline of their ability to control their behavior, inhibit emotions or urges, make decisions, solve problems, and even pay attention to issues. Often, these individuals have very poor emotional control and become irritable and aggressive.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Many people go through short periods of time where they feel sad or not like their usual selves. Sometimes, these mood changes begin and end when the seasons change. People may start to feel “down” when the days get shorter in the fall and winter (also called “winter blues”) and begin to feel better in the spring, with longer daylight hours.
In some cases, these mood changes are more serious and can affect how a person feels, thinks, and handles daily activities. If you have noticed significant changes in your mood and behavior whenever the seasons change, you may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression.
What are the signs and symptoms of SAD?
SAD is not considered a separate disorder but is a type of depression characterized by its recurrent seasonal pattern, with symptoms lasting about 4 to 5 months per year. Therefore, the signs and symptoms of SAD include those associated with major depression, (see full article for list) and some specific symptoms that differ for winter-pattern and summer-pattern. Not every person with SAD will experience all of the symptoms listed below.
Winter-pattern SAD may include:
Overeating, particularly with a craving for carbohydrates
Social withdrawal (feeling like “hibernating”)
Summer-pattern SAD may include:
Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
Poor appetite, leading to weight loss
Restlessness and agitation
Episodes of violent behavior
Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Elevated levels of adverse mental health conditions, substance use, and suicidal ideation were reported by adults in the United States in June 2020.
The prevalence of symptoms of anxiety disorder was approximately three times those reported in the second quarter of 2019 (25.5% versus 8.1%), and prevalence of depressive disorder was approximately four times that reported in the second quarter of 2019 (24.3% versus 6.5%) (2). However, given the methodological differences and potential unknown biases in survey designs, this analysis might not be directly comparable with data reported on anxiety and depression disorders in 2019 (2).
Approximately one quarter of respondents reported symptoms of a TSRD related to the pandemic, and approximately one in 10 reported that they started or increased substance use because of COVID-19. Suicidal ideation was also elevated; approximately twice as many respondents reported serious consideration of suicide in the previous 30 days than did adults in the United States in 2018, referring to the previous 12 months (10.7% versus 4.3%) (6).
Mental health conditions are disproportionately affecting specific populations, especially young adults, Hispanic persons, black persons, essential workers, unpaid caregivers for adults, and those receiving treatment for preexisting psychiatric conditions. Unpaid caregivers for adults, many of whom are currently providing critical aid to persons at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, had a higher incidence of adverse mental and behavioral health conditions compared with others. Although unpaid caregivers of children were not evaluated in this study, approximately 39% of unpaid caregivers for adults shared a household with children (compared with 27% of other respondents). Caregiver workload, especially in multigenerational caregivers, should be considered for future assessment of mental health, given the findings of this report and hardships potentially faced by caregivers.