What is Post Adoption Depression?
Post Adoption Depression Syndrome (referred to as P.A.D. or P.A.D.S.) is the onset of depression symptoms in an adoptive mother or father, generally appearing from one month after adoption in 10% to 32% of adoptive parents. 1Kanter, Jonathan W; Busch, Andrew M; Weeks, Cristal E; Landes, Sara J (2008). “The Nature of Clinical Depression: Symptoms, Syndromes, and Behavior Analysis”. The Behavior Analyst. 31 (1): 1–21.
PAD is similar to postpartum depression. New parents go through significant changes regardless of how a child enters their family—birth, foster care, or adoption—and these changes can have significant impacts on mental health. 2Foli, Karen J.; South, Susan C.; Lim, Eunjung; Jarnecke, Amber M. (August 2016). “Post-adoption depression: Parental classes of depressive symptoms across time”. Journal of Affective Disorders. 200: 293–302.
For adoptive families, the impact may be exponentially increased by the effects of abuse, neglect, and other trauma experienced by the child before he or she joined the family as well as the grief and trauma associated with the adoption experience itself.
PAD can also negatively impact the adopted child 3Bernard-Bonnin, A-C (October 2004). “Maternal depression and child development”. Paediatrics & Child Health. 9 (8): 575–583. and other family members.
Symptoms of PAD
The symptoms of post-adoption depression are common to symptoms of depression and include4Kanter, Jonathan W; Busch, Andrew M; Weeks, Cristal E; Landes, Sara J (2008). “The Nature of Clinical Depression: Symptoms, Syndromes, and Behavior Analysis”. The Behavior Analyst. 31 (1): 1–21.:
- changes in sleeping pattern and appetite
- feelings of hopelessness
- fatigue or exhaustion
- problems with concentration
- feelings of guilt and/or regret
- suicidal thoughts
Also sometimes related to PAD are anxiety and panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), secondary trauma, and more. Contact your doctor or other qualified medical professional to discuss all your symptoms and make a plan for finding health and healing.
You are not alone. You are not a terrible person. You can get better.