Addiction and Postpartum Depression

Unfortunately, I have an old friend who has been battling postpartum depression. I tried to help her with resources. Meantime I got interested in the subject.

Postpartum depression occurs during pregnancy and/or after giving birth. It affects about 13% of American women; however, this illness is still ignored or stigmatized (Ross & Dennis, 2009). There are several causes of postpartum depression, such as abuse, trauma during pregnancy or delivery, existing mental illnesses, and family history (PSI, 2017). Symptoms include sadness, helplessness, sleeping problems, irritation, poor diet, fear, and guilt. Many women have mild symptoms but they don’t pay attention to them because they think that society demands strength (PSI, 2017). A serious form of PPD is postpartum psychosis. Women with PPD know that their thoughts and feelings might be irrational. Women who suffer from postpartum psychosis don’t realize this. Hallucinations and hearing voices can be involved (PSI, 2017). Sadly, psychosis can be severe. Suicide or murder can be the answer for suffering moms who have postpartum psychosis. In few countries, legal systems handles these cases through the scope of temporary insanity. With the help of education and awareness, these problems and horrible situations could be prevented (PSI, 2017).


When I hear in the news that a mom killed herself or her children, I normally get angry and terrified. From now on, I will also think of postpartum psychosis as a cause 😦

I was wondering if PPD affects the possibility of addiction and vice versa. Studies show that substance abuse can be a consequence of mental illnesses (major depression, OCD, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder etc). Addiction can lead to PPD. Thus, women who suffer from addiction are at higher risk to develop PPD (Ross & Dennis, 2009). Furthermore, symptoms of PPD may encourage moms or family members to self-medicate with prescription drugs, alcohol, and other substances (Butcher, Mineka & Hooley, 2010).

Let’s watch out for each other ♥


Butcher, J. N., Mineka, S., & Hooley, J. M. (2010). Abnormal psychology (14th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Postpartum Support International (PSI) (2017). Learn more [Website]. Retrieved from

Ross, L. E., & Dennis, C. L. (2009). The prevalence of postpartum depression among women with substance use, an abuse history, or chronic illness: a systematic review. Journal of Women’s Health, 18(4), 475-486.


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