4 Differences between Clinical Depression and Post-Partum Depression

4 Differences between Clinical Depression and Post-Partum Depression

You may feel depressed if you are going through the hormonal changes of childbirth

Most people feel sad or low at some point in life, but feeling depressed for most of the day for many days after giving birth to a child can be a warning for a dangerous problem. Although both conditions share some common symptoms, clinical depression and post-partum depression (PPD) also have some major differences[1]. For instance, timing and gender both play an intricate part in these problems. Furthermore, when diagnosed with either form of depression, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, have difficulty concentrating and even starting to withdraw from both loved ones and activities you once enjoyed. However, if you know the warning signs of what to look for, then you can better understand your condition and seek appropriate help. In short, learn how your symptoms may have started, because then you can get and stay well for the long run.

Differences Between Clinical Depression and Post-Partum Depression

However, clinical depression and PPD share a number of common symptoms, but clinical depression is unrelated to childbirth, while the latter occurs after delivering a baby. However, PPD is typically diagnosed within that first year of childbirth, even though the time for diagnosis can extend beyond that time[2]. The following symptoms may cause a woman to develop PPD:

  • Sleep-deprivation
  • Transitioning to motherhood
  • Hormonal changes
  • Breastfeeding or weaning

If you or a loved one has these problems, then seek help as soon as possible.

On the other hand, you may feel depressed and be uncertain if you have some problems and are going through the hormonal changes of giving birth. Although many similarities exist between PPD and clinical depression, the main and most significant difference is that PPD occurs after you have a baby, while the other problem can occur at any time. It is difficult enough to struggle with clinical depression, let alone when you have an infant, toddler or even multiple children, because then your situation may seem unbearable. However, these problems are treatable if you know how to respond.

First, seek medical help, because your doctor can prescribe the same antidepressants along with anti-anxiety medications for PPD as for depression. However, with PPD, experts also encourage supportive psychotherapy to address your specific needs while learning to balance your new responsibilities with your emotions. In other words, it is completely natural to struggle with depression, but the time your symptoms arrive may be directly related to childbirth rather than some problem you have in life. In other words, then seek help immediately to begin recovery as soon as possible.

Depression ranges in seriousness from mild and temporary to severe and persistent. Clinical depression is the most severe form of depression, also commonly referred to as major depression or major depressive disorder, but you or a loved one must have five or more of the following symptoms that last a two-week period for most of the day, nearly every day:

  • Significant weight loss when not dieting, significant weight gain or drastic increase or decrease in appetite
  • Insomnia or increased desire to sleep
  • Restless behavior or slowed behavior
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Trouble making decisions or concentrating
  • Recurrent thoughts of death, suicide or suicide attempt

The symptoms of clinical depression may be severe enough to cause noticeable problems in relationships, day to day activities and even your professional life. Your symptoms may be based on your own personal feelings or on someone else’s observations. Clinical depression can affect people at any age, even including children. However, it can usually improve with either psychological counseling, antidepressants or even a well-balanced combination of the two. You can recover if you have the right help.

Regardless of which form of depression you or your loved one suffers from post-partum or clinical depression, it is best to consult your family physician to see what the best treatment option is. Reaching out to others and trying to find a coping mechanism to move beyond a depressive moment can be tremendously beneficial for both you and your loved ones. Life is full of constant ups and downs and when you suffer from depression in any form, which means that you can find yourself stuck at the down moments and become unable to rebound. This problem can cause numerous issues that slowly trickle into others. Use the tools at your disposal, research your symptoms and then try to find the right treatment option for yourself. There is no reason to struggle with depression, as you can treat your symptoms and be the mom you always wanted to be.

Drug Addiction and Mental Illness Treatment

If you or someone you know and love struggles with a form of depression (despite her attempts to get better), then please call our toll-free helpline now. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions and to help you find the best treatment for your depression. It only takes one call to save your life, so reach out for help right now to receive instant, professional support.


[1] http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/major-depression, Major Depression (Clinical Depression), Joseph Goldberg, MD, 02/18/2016, 02/11/2014.

[2] http://www.babycenter.com/404_whats-the-difference-between-postpartum-and-regular-depressi_11713.bc, What’s the Difference between Postpartum and “Regular” Depression?, Karen Kleiman, 02/19/2016.

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