Parental Depression: How to Identify Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

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Parenting while depressed can be challenging. As a parent, you want to do right by your children, but sometimes the stresses and anxiety that come with being a parent can get too much. Parental depression can impact children, their development, and their mental health, so it is crucial to understand the steps to take if you are experiencing parental depression.  

Fortunately, mental health care and understanding have come a long way in recent years. Many options are available to parents experiencing depression, and it is often best to try a range of options until you find the best treatment plans. 

A crucial first step is to visit your family doctor to discuss the symptoms you’re experiencing. 

They will be able to refer you to a specialist mental health professional to get you a diagnosis and the best treatment possible.  

Causes Of Parental Depression 

It is not always easy to know what causes depression in parents and non-parents alike. A history of mental health problems can be a contributing factor to the development of parental depression. For some, anxiety about raising a child can turn into depression. 

Likewise, the stresses associated with being a parent, particularly a parent to a new baby, can cause depression. Parents without a strong support network may also be more likely to experience depression. 

A parent’s lifestyle can also have an impact, such as those who have high-pressure careers or unhealthy habits like smoking or poor diet.  

Different Types of Stress

When Normal Stresses Turn Into Depression 

It is normal to experience heightened stress when becoming a parent and raising children. Every parent knows that kids can be a handful, but it is crucial to understand when everyday stress and anxiety cross into clinical depression. 

Initially, it can be hard to identify because the change may come on slowly. You may find it hard to complete even the simplest of tasks or become emotional seemingly without reason. 

The ways you used to cope with hard times might not be as effective anymore, or you might feel a constant sense of impending doom. It is often the intensity and the duration of the negative emotions you might be experiencing that can indicate depression.  

Signs And Symptoms Of Parental Depression 

Each person is different, so it can be tricky to pinpoint the exact signs and symptoms you might experience with depression

No list is exhaustive; some parents might experience one or two symptoms, while others may experience many. Some things you might encounter while depressed include: 

  • Low energy and fatigue 
  • Insomnia or poor-quality sleep 
  • Changes to appetite 
  • Feeling tearful or easily upset 
  • Not enjoying the things you used to enjoy 
  • Feelings of hopelessness or despair 
  • Being irritable 

Treatment Options For Parental Depression 

If you think you have depression, there are many things you can do to help. Often, the most effective treatment plans include various things, including lifestyle changes, medications, and therapy. 

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Lifestyle Changes To Help With Parental Depression 

Lifestyle changes you could adopt to help with parental depression can be excellent for reducing stress and easing pressure. You could consider reducing your alcohol intake, eating a healthier diet, quitting smoking, or working to improve your sleep quality

Exercise can also be an excellent way to help manage depression, though many people report feeling unable to find the energy or motivation to exercise. It may help to start small by doing a short workout or going for a 5-minute walk.  

It can also help to develop a strong support network to help you handle stress as a parent. You could talk to trusted loved ones about getting help with the kids or asking for help with household tasks like grocery shopping, laundry or cooking. 

It is best to be honest with your loved ones about your struggles. 

Talking about how you’re feeling can be an excellent way to help bring yourself out of your depression.  

Medications That Could Help 

There are various medications available that can help you manage and overcome your symptoms of depression. Talking to your doctor about possible medications that might benefit you is crucial. 

They will be able to assess your symptoms, overall health, and other factors to find the proper medications to help. 

It may take some time to find the right medication, so try not to become disheartened if the first option you use doesn’t have the effect you had hoped for.  

Talking Therapies 

Therapy is another excellent tool to help you overcome parental depression. Therapy can help you talk out what you’re feeling and help you get to the root cause. 

Therapists can also help you find healthy strategies to cope with your challenges, reducing stress and anxiety, which tremendously impacts depression. 

You may need to try different therapists until you find the right match.  

Parenting While Depressed 

Parenting can be hard enough for those without depression; for people experiencing parental depression, it can sometimes feel impossible. The best thing you can do for yourself and your kids is to seek help and treatment to overcome depression

Children are often more perceptive than you might think regarding a parent’s mood and mental state. It is also a good idea to talk to your children about depression using age-appropriate terms. 

This can help them understand any changes in their personality and emotions and avoid them blaming themselves for what is happening at home.  



Parental depression is a normal thing that many parents experience. Treatment is available, and there is no shame in seeking help when needed. Your children need you to be healthy, and you deserve to enjoy your time as a parent without the added stress and anxiety of depression. 

If you are concerned, you should talk to your doctor and find the right solutions to help you overcome your depression. 

If you want to get started with some home remedies for stress relief and depression management, here at Rest Equation, you can find many tried and tested methods, tools, and products to help you thrive. 

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