Actress Hayden Panettiere’s Battle with Postpartum Depression

Actress Hayden Panettiere reportedly has voluntarily entered a treatment center to combat postpartum depression. The 26-year-old “Nashville” star has been struggling with the condition since the birth of her daughter, Kaya, in December 2014.

In a candid interview with “Live with Kelly and Michael” last month, Panettiere lamented about common misconceptions surrounding the condition.

“There’s a lot of misunderstanding,” she explained. “There’s a lot of people out there that think it’s not real, that it’s not true, that it’s something that’s made up in their minds, that ‘Oh, it’s hormones.’

“It’s really painful, and it’s really scary, and women need a lot of support.”

OB-GYN Jennifer Ashton praises the actress for bringing much-needed awareness to the often-stigmatized condition. 

“We continue to have a stigma with this," Dr. Ashton says, "And hear incorrect statements or myths like, ‘You’re just tired’ or ‘You’re just hormonal’ or ‘You just need to adjust to being a mom.’ No, no, and no. This is no different than if you had high blood pressure … If you have postpartum depression, it needs treatment."

New moms experience a wide range of powerful emotions, and many may experience postpartum “baby blues,” a mild, temporary condition marked by mood swings, anxiety and difficulty sleeping. However, approximately eight to 19 percent of women experience more severe, postpartum depressive symptoms, according to a survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Symptoms of postpartum depression include:

  • Severe mood swings or depressed mood
  • Excessive crying
  • Changes to eating habits (e.g. loss of appetite or eating more than usual)
  • Changes to sleeping habits (e.g. insomnia or sleeping more than usual)
  • Difficulty bonding with baby and withdrawal from loved ones
  • Inability to think clearly or make decisions
  • Thoughts of harming self or baby
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

The condition can occur after the birth of any child, and the risk may increase with a personal history of depression, problems in an intimate relationship, pregnancy complications, and if there is a weak support system or financial difficulties.

Treatment for postpartum depression can include counseling, antidepressant medication, or a combination of both.

If you or someone you love is exhibiting signs of postpartum depression, please consult your physician.

If you or someone you love is having suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and seek help from your primary doctor or mental health specialist.

Sources: CDC, Mayo Clinic

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