Post-adoption depression: what it is, symptoms and how to deal with it

The arrival of a boy or a girl in our lives is always a cause of happiness and joy. However, there are a number of factors that can interfere with and alter this sense of well-being and although these feelings are usually associated with postpartum depression, they can also appear at the end of an adoption process.

These cases are known as post-adoption depression., A psychological disorder characterized by the emotional suffering of one of the two emotional parents which we will discuss throughout this article.

    What is post-adoption depression?

    Post-adoption depression, or post-adoption depression syndrome, is a very little-known disorder that was first described in 1995 by psychologist and adoption researcher June Bond.

    Throughout his work, Bond realized the effects of the adoption process on the mental health of prospective adoptive parents and observed that on a large number of occasions, adopters experience acute feelings of sadness and anxiety that appear a few weeks after the adoption process has ended. In other words, shortly after the minor has already settled in his new home. This clinical picture has been called post-adoption depression syndrome.

    While its symptoms are very similar to those of postpartum depression, already normalized and accepted as a possible temporary consequence of the new situation in which the person finds himself, post-adoption depression is surrounded by a high level of ignorance. .

    The reason is that, unlike postpartum depression which is justified as a hormonal readjustment, in post-adoption depression, this biological justification is not found and, moreover, society expects people to feel great happiness and satisfaction in seeing an adoption process accomplished, which in theory takes so much time and effort.

    This means that a lot of people feel ashamed and guilty about these feelings of sadness and anxiety that come over them, so they decide to take it in silence and not resort to any help. Outraged, the feeling of incomprehension is also very characteristic of this alteration.

    There are not a few people who experience these effects. Likewise, these symptoms do not appear out of nowhere, but have causes based on the interaction with the environment, and there are a number of steps a person can take to prevent or prevent them from correcting them. .

    What are the symptoms?

    Unlike postpartum depression, which is common in women, although there are also cases in which it has occurred in men, postpartum depression it tends to occur the same in both sexes. However, symptoms can vary between men and women. This phenomenon is associated with the influence of gender roles still strongly attached to different cultures.

    In the case of women, they often experience strong feelings of sadness, fatigue, and extreme fatigue, Problems with sleep and anhedonia, or inability to experience interest or pleasure in activities previously deemed satisfactory

    All of these symptoms often trigger a strong sense of frustration and guilt as the person feels they should be in a position of well-being and happiness and does not understand why this is not the case.

    Meanwhile, post-adoption depression in men it usually manifests as irritability and anger. Plus, like women, they also experience sleep issues and a lack of interest in just about everything.

      What are the possible causes?

      While there aren’t many studies or research on post-adoption depression, it has been possible to establish a number of factors or causes that lead to the onset of the symptoms and feelings mentioned. above.

      In most cases, these causes they are linked to the generation of unrealistic expectations on what will happen after the adoption process ends, as well as on the idealization of the role of the father or mother. Plus, long wait times for adoption fosters this ideal imagination.

      Consequently, once perceived the reality in which they find themselves, parents may feel frustrated and guilty about their emotions. Likewise, it is common to want to form a strong and fast loving bond with the new family member, unaware that this bond is a slow and laborious process that can take months.

      In addition, the feeling of lack of understanding on the part of family and friends tends to reinforce this feeling of guilt, as it is common for those around them not to understand why parents do not feel happy to have filled their sleep.

      How can you get out of it?

      First of all, you need to be aware of the existence of post-adoption depression. Knowing and accepting that it is possible to suffer from it will decrease the degree of surprise and frustration if it occurs. In addition, it will help the person prepare for new emotions and feelings that they might be experiencing.

      There are a number of very useful recommendations to deal with this new situation., As well as the onset of symptoms of post-adoption depression:

      • Extend maternity and paternity leave as much as possible in order to have more time to form the family bond.
      • In the case of an adoption with a single adoptive parent, seek the help of another person, friend or family member, who can help reduce the volume of tasks and provide emotional support.
      • Do activities with the child to strengthen the bond.
      • Remember that for a while the little one will take almost 100% of the time, For which you must be prepared to sacrifice or temporarily interrupt other areas of life. However, it is essential to set aside time for yourself.
      • If it is a process of adoption by couple, it is necessary invest time in the relationship of the two, Otherwise, it may also be affected.
      • Lose the fear of seeking professional help. Getting into the role of parent is a big change and an adjustment process, so professional help from a psychologist can be essential.

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