Though not largely understood, postpartum depression is a condition that affects many new mothers following the births of their children or a miscarriage. Postpartum depression, otherwise known as postnatal depression, can persist for several months or even years following the triggering event.
According to Disability Benefits Help, postnatal depression can have several adverse consequences for both mother and baby. On the one hand, the baby suffers because it does not receive the love, affection and care it needs to thrive both physically and emotionally outside of the womb. On the other hand, the mother suffers from excess stress, behavioral disengagement and the inability to problem solve. For many women, the condition becomes disabling.
Causes of postpartum depression
Researchers have yet to pinpoint a clear cause for PPD. Though theories suggest that the condition is the result of a lack of essential vitamins and nutrients during pregnancy, there is little evidence to support these theories. However, women who do experience PPD demonstrate certain risk factors:
- Depleted oxytocin or elevated prolactin levels
- A history of low-self esteem or depression
- Birth-related physiological or psychological trauma
- Smoking during pregnancy
- Lack of support system and/or poor marital relations
- Unwanted or unplanned pregnancy
Studies also show that women with few financial resources are also at a higher risk of developing PPD post-pregnancy.
Filing for Social Security Disability with PPD
Because postpartum depression can result in such debilitating symptoms, the Social Security Administration does recognize it as a compensable condition. However, to receive SSD benefits for PPD, you must prove the existence of four of the following symptoms: Sleep disturbances or change in sleep habits; loss of libido; difficulties connecting with your baby; withdrawal from everyday activities or lethargy; low self-esteem or feelings of low emptiness; and paranoia, delusions, suicidal thoughts or hallucinations.
To prove that you live with four of the aforementioned symptoms, you will need to present the courts with all your medical records regarding the condition. If the records do not suffice, the courts may ask you to undergo a mental status examination.