The differences between baby blues and postpartum depression are huge. Baby blues are a few days of sadness that come and go
within the first couple weeks after the mother gives birth. Crying jags, insomnia, mood swings, and feelings of loneliness, inadequacy, and anxiety characterize the problem. No formal treatment is necessary, as it can be alleviated with simple mood enhancers like sleeping whenever the baby does, asking for help, or joining a new mother's group.
Postpartum depression, on the other hand, is an entirely different animal. It comes on anytime during the child's first year and lasts anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. The symptoms are similar to baby blues, but their intensity is increased exponentially. No energy and feelings of shame and insignificance are added to problems of sleeping, constant anxiety, sadness, and lack of energy.
Postpartum depression needs formal treatment. A doctor should absolutely be seen. Counseling and other forms of support of a psychiatric nature like group therapy are a good idea. If not breast feeding, the new mother may be prescribed antidepressants.
However, postpartum depression, as awful as it is, is not the worst that can happen to a new mother's state of mind after birth. Postpartum psychosis is considerably more disturbing. A rare occurrence, postpartum psychosis usually shows up within the first six
weeks after the child is born. When it does happen, it is women who suffer from serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder who will most likely develop postpartum psychosis. Symptoms include obsessing on the baby and violent mood swings from elation to rage and extreme depression.
All of the above disorders can be treated, but first, it needs to be diagnosed. See a doctor immediately if symptoms are exhibited.