Postpartum Depression Assessment – Important Questions to Consider!

The following is an overview of questions that might be used to clarify symptoms which may be associated with postpartum depression. While the list may seem long, it is important to consider all the psychosocial stressors, as well as biologically based symptoms which may accompany the emergence or presence of a perinatal mood disorder.

Sometimes, it is important to approach the same clinical question in different ways as women who are suffering may not relate to standard definitions, but rather how they are specifically EXPERIENCING the mood or symptom.

1. How have you been feeling the past several days and weeks?

2. How is your sleep, appetite and mood? Are you crying or very sad much of the time?

3. Have you noticed that you are agitated, irritable and unable to calm down?

4. Are you angry at those around you and feel they are not supporting you?

5. Do you wish your partner would do more to help you? Or are you compulsively attempting to do it all yourself? Are you staying up late to clean the house or do the laundry?

6. If you are breastfeeding, is it going well? Was it your personal choice to breastfeed? Do you feel pressured to breastfeed or guilty if you do not?

7. Are you excessively worried about your baby’s health?

8. Do you check on your baby all the time, even though you know he is okay?

9. Are you afraid to leave the house, take public transportation or other activites that didn’t bother you before?

10. Do certain situations, foods, smells that you didn’t mind before now bother you?

11. How is your relationship with your partner and family?

12. Do you like being a mother? Did you want to have a baby or was this pregnancy to satisfy family, social or cultural expectations?

13. Are you happy with the health, sex, disposition of your new baby?

14. Do you sometimes wonder if your baby is trying to annoy you?

15. Do you think your baby does not like you?

16. Do you think you are a good mother? If not, why?

17. Do you constantly put yourself down? Do feelings of guilt overwhelm you?

18. Do you ever wish you could give the baby to someone else because you feel helpless to care for him?

19. Do you ever think about running away? Do you wish someone else could raise your baby?

20. Do you ever think of harming yourself or the baby?

21. Is parenting not at all what you expected? Is it too much?

22. Do you long for your pre motherhood life?

23. Are you eating much more or less than you used to?

24. Do you feel like you could jump right out of your skin?

25. Do you have racing thoughts that will not allow you peace of mind?

26. Do you have panic attacks when your heart races, or you feel like you could faint or choke?

27. Do you feel like something bad is about to happen?

28. Do you think people are out to get you?

29. Do you ever have the feeling that someone is watching you?

30. Do you hear voices telling you what to do?

31. Do you have trouble remembering the time of day, the day of the week or other common information?

32. Do you sometimes feel like you aren’t really here or that you are removed from reality? That there is a veil separating you from your feelings or being present in life?

33. Do you feel like you are in a dream from which you cannot awake?

34. Is anyone hurting you or your baby or making unreasonable demands?

35. Is there a custody dispute or legal action being taken against you?

36. Do you or anyone in your family have a history of anxiety, depression or another disorder?

37. Have you ever had an eating disorder or substance abuse issue?

38. Do you find it hard to be patient and get along with people including your baby?

39. Are you a veteran of any war? Are you currently facing deployment?

40. Have you been subjected to traumatic experiences which continue to bother you?

41. Do you have a history of sexual or physical abuse?

42. How was the actual birth experience of your baby?

43. Was there a life threatening event or unexpected emergency that arose?

44. Are you very angry at someone? Your doctor? Your partner?

45. Do you feel you are not getting enough help at home but feel guilty asking for more?

46. Are you experiencing financial or legal issues? Are you in excessive debt?

47. Do you have a chronic health problem? Are you in pain right now?

48. Have you sought therapy in the past? Was it helpful?

49. Have you been on medication in the past or now?

50. Are you using illegal substances or abusing prescription medication?

51. Are you drinking alcohol excessively? Do you smoke?

52. Are you harming yourself in any way?

53. Did you have a previous fetal loss, stillbirth or infant death?

54. Did you have treatment for infertility, or IVF?

55. Do you feel guilty because you don’t want to be with your baby all the time?

56. Do you feel guilty because you do not want to have sex, because you need more help or because you aren’t contributing more financially to the family?

57. Have you recently moved to a new location?

58. Have you changed jobs, separated from your former partner or has your financial situation worsened recently?

59. Did you lose a friend, a family member or end an important association in the last year?

58. What is the number one reason you are seeking help?

59. What would you like to see happen as a result of therapy?

60. Have your periods started/stopped? How is your mood around your period?

61. When was your last physical? Do you have any chronic medical conditions?

62. Do you have nightmares? Do you awaken many times during the night and have trouble getting back to sleep?

63. What was your relationship like with your mother? What qualities do you wish to emulate? What qualities do you hope to change?

64. What is your immediate goal in seeking help/therapy? What is your long-term goal?

65. Do you feel your life is worth living? Can you imagine a time that you will feel better?

If you live in northern NJ, southern CT or the New York City area, contact Blue Skye Consulting to arrange an appointment with a credentialed, licensed PPD therapist.

If you live elsewhere in the country you can visit Postpartum Support International to find resources in your area, or to find a trained PPD therapist, visit MediSpin’s website.

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