Prenatal Depression and Alcohol Abuse

Prenatal Depression and Alcohol AbuseFor many women being pregnant is a joyous event. However as much as a woman might want to be pregnant, there are physical, emotional and hormonal changes that can contribute to depression.

Physical Contributors to Depression during Pregnancy

Even though we can logically understand that we are pregnant and therefore our body is going to change, it is sometimes upsetting to see the physical changes. We may not have expected the following:

  • Engorged hands and feet
  • Varicose veins
  • Distended abdomen
  • Stretch marks
  • Blotchy patches on face
  • Extremely dry skin
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Weak bladder
  • Puffiness

Never knowing how you are going to look or feel can be a source of concern. When this concern is ongoing, it can lead to anxiety or depression.

Emotional Contributors to Depression

Even though a woman may want to become a mother, there are many emotions associated with this experience. Women may ask themselves the following questions and worry about the answers:

  • Am I going to be a good mother?
  • Will my partner still find me attractive during my pregnancy?
  • Will my relationship with my partner change when we have a child?
  • Can I keep my baby safe?
  • Can we afford to have a child?

The list goes on and on, because one of the constant emotional conditions for a parent is worry. This constant questioning and uncertainty can lead to anxiety or depression.

Signs of Prenatal Depression

While postpartum depression is an ailment that most people are familiar with and understand, rapid increase in hormone levels at the start of pregnancy can also disrupt brain chemistry and lead to depression. Women suffering with prenatal depression may experience the following:

  • Diminished feeling that things are enjoyable or fun
  • Feeling blue, sad or “empty” for most of the day
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability or agitation
  • Excessive crying
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping all the time
  • Constant fatigue
  • A desire to eat all the time or not wanting to eat at all
  • Inappropriate guilt or feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness

If you believe that you could harm yourself or your baby, get help immediately. Turning to alcohol or other drug use, hiding emotions or hoping the problem will go away will not create the change and positive attitude that you need.

Healthy Ways to Deal with Prenatal Depression

The following are several things that a woman can do to help alleviate prenatal depression symptoms:

  • Recognize that prenatal depression is a real mental health issue and not something that shows that you are insecure or weak
  • Seek professional medical advice to determine the right course of action for you
  • Take care of you first by doing things like taking a walk, eating good food and getting plenty of rest
  • Spend time nurturing the relationship with your partner; explore your fear and worries and recommit to keeping your relationship a priority
  • Manage stress by finding stress-relieving activities that you enjoy and that can bring emotional and mental balance

Get Help for Prenatal Depression and Alcoholism

Prenatal depression can be overwhelming, but there are real and healthy solutions that do not involve alcohol or other drug use. Call our toll-free helpline, and learn about healthy options for managing pregnancy, depression and drug abuse or addiction issues. We are here for you 24 hours a day, so please call now.