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Pregnancy is a journey in itself where you tend to go through physical changes, psychological changes and social changes as well. While the body struggles to cope with the hormonal and other major changes, the mind also tries continuously to adapt and cope with emotional as well as mental stress. Teenagers are considered to still be in a maturing stage when they have difficulty dealing with factors such as peer stress, emotional ups and downs, identity issues, personality building challenges and psychological barriers.
Psychological Barrier in Teenage Pregnancy: As per the Pediatrics Journal, teenage mothers tend to have higher rate of depression compared with adult women who experience pregnancy. This may be due to various reasons like difficulty to face the society, unplanned pregnancy, immaturity to deal with pregnancy and related symptoms, own social involvements, which come between pregnancy and a whole lot of reasons.
However, the psychological effects and stress, which account for these barriers are sometimes quite severe and according to researchers, teen mothers often show symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which may sometimes lead to suicidal tendencies.
Signs and Symptoms of Stress and Trauma:
- Some of the major stress signs in teenage pregnancy either in the prepartum or postpartum period may include anxiety, depression, concentration difficulties, eating disorders, insufficient sleep, sadness or mood swings.
- Already teenage pregnancy leads to excessive mental stress and if there is a complication in delivery or premature birth before 37 weeks, the level of depression tends to get higher.
- There is a distinct difference between postpartum depression and baby blues. While baby blues are similar to stress and sleep problems, eating troubles, mood fluctuations seem the same as postpartum depression, they tend to go off within two to three weeks, while depression lasts.
- Excessive fatigue resulting into a brittle mood.
- Sudden attacks of panic are also quite common.
- Difficulties in bonding with baby or having patience with baby's demands.
This type of stress and trauma may lead to child abuse, neglecting children or depression. Lowered self-confidence and irritated state of mind are also some of the common complaints. Therefore, to avoid the postpartum stress and major difficulties, teenage pregnant moms can consult psychiatrists for help and advice.
Although there is no single reason why someone may have suicidal tendencies, certain things can increase the risk. An individual is more likely to have suicidal thoughts if he has a mental health condition like depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. The vulnerability also increases in cases of alcoholism, drug abuse or poor job security. It may not be possible to prevent suicidal thoughts, but keeping one's mind healthy with regular exercise, healthy eating and maintaining friendships can help one deal better with stress.
It can be very upsetting, when someone says things which sound as if the person is considering suicide. One may not be sure what to do to help, as to whether one should take talk of suicide seriously or if intervention might make the situation worse. Taking action is always the best choice. One of the best things one can do if someone is feeling suicidal is to encourage them to talk about their feelings and to listen to what they say. One can provide the best help by listening and not being judgemental. If the person has been diagnosed with a mental health condition like depression, one can take advice from his care team.
One should avoid offering solutions. While listening, do not give in to the temptation of providing a solution. One should ask open ended questions so that the person remains in control and expresses his feelings. On the contrary, it will offer an opportunity to talk about feelings, which may reduce the risk of acting on suicidal feelings. Ensure that the person is not left on his own, if there is immediate danger. One cannot always tell when a loved one or friend is considering suicide, so one must be on the lookout for warning signs. The warning signs could be talking about suicide, buying or stocking pills, withdrawing from social life, increase in alcohol or drugs, personality changes like severely agitated and saying goodbye to people as if seeing them for the last time. It is also important that one does not make judgements about how a person is thinking or behaving.
After listening to their feelings, one may feel that certain aspects of their thinking and behaviour are making their problems worse. But pointing this out will not be particularly helpful to them. Reassurance, respect and support will only help someone during these difficult periods. As a final note, one must realise that talking to someone about their feelings is not long lasting and can help them feel safe and secure temporarily. A professional help can provide the long-term support to help someone overcome their suicidal tendencies. That will the person to deal with the primary issues behind someone's suicidal thoughts, besides offering advice and support. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a sexologist.