Post Partum Depression and Miriam Carey: Stopping the Silent Scourge

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Miriam Carey
Advanced Periodontics / AP

Miriam Carey

A woman who led DC police on a car chase from the White House to the Capitol suffered from post partum depression, according to her mother.

Miriam Carey, 34, of Stamford, Conn. drove her car through a barrier at the White House, ramming a Secret Service agent onto the hood of her car, and then led police to the Capitol, according to the Associated Press (AP). Police began firing at Carey’s car after she drove into a Secret Service vehicle and escaped down Constitution Avenue, where she hit a median and was shot to death by police. Only then did they discover Carey’s infant daughter in the car, who was unharmed and placed in protective custody.

Carey’s mother, Idella Carey, told ABC News that her daughter gave birth last August, and became depressed several months later. Carey was fired from her job as a dental hygienist about a year ago, and had experienced a head injury following a fall, her employer Dr. Brian Evans told the AP. A federal law enforcement official also told the publication that based on interviews conducted with Carey’s family so far, she showed signs of “serious degradation in her mental health.”

It may take many months before more is known about what drove Carey to act as she did, and to determine whether her behavior was the result of post partum depression, as her mother suggested, or a different mental illness, or even a combination of both. Recent studies suggest that about half of all new mothers experience post partum depression after childbirth, with about 10% to 15% showing symptoms of sleep problems, apathy, and obsessive worry about their parenting skills. An even smaller percentage develop more severe conditions of post partum psychosis, which can include hallucinations, paranoia and extreme anxiety. But these are only estimates, since experts say there are few comprehensive studies on post partum depression and minimal understanding of what makes women vulnerable.

MORE: First Genetic Markers That Predict Postpartum Depression

To address the knowledge gap, some scientists have recently used brain imaging to identify patterns of activity that may pinpoint new mothers who might be at greater risk of developing post partum symptoms. These scans showed that the condition may result from dulled responses in the regions that regulate empathy and emotion.

Some early investigations have also revealed potential genetic clues to the condition; Johns Hopkins researchers have connected increases in estrogen levels during pregnancy with changes in genes that regulate mood. Some women, they say, may have genetic makeups that make them more sensitive to the drop in the hormone after birth, which could make them more vulnerable to depression. Even more encouraging is the fact that these genetic changes can be detected in the blood with about 85% accuracy.

MORE: Study: Depression, Fear of Abandonment Can Lead Moms to Kill Babies

Other studies have suggested a link between geography and post partum depression; about 10% of mothers living in urban areas developed the condition compared to 6% of women in rural areas. Despite the fact that more people tend to live in smaller spaces in cities, mothers may feel less connected to a supportive network of close family and friends in these settings.

But without a more coordinated understanding of the condition, questions about whether more women should be screened — and defining the criteria for diagnosis — are still lacking. Congress recently took action on the matter, passing the Melanie Blocker-Stokes Postpartum Depression Research and Care Act, or the Mothers Act, as part of health care reform to require the National Institutes of Health to expand research into the condition and improve ways of diagnosing and treating its symptoms. The law also calls for a study into whether screening all mothers for post partum depression could lead to earlier interventions to help mothers cope better with their symptoms and potentially avoid tragic outcomes like Carey’s and Blocker-Stokes’, a Chicago mother who jumped to her death in 2001 after being hospitalized three times for post partum psychosis.

MORE: Postpartum Exhaustion: Is It O.K. for New Parents to Solicit Friends to Cook, Clean and Empty the Trash?

Early detection of the hormonal and genetic contributors could help the most vulnerable mothers take advantage of drug or behavior-based therapies to manage their symptoms. At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, doctors run the country’s first stand-alone inpatient psychiatric unit for expectant and new moms with depression. The program provides 24-hour care, including stress management skills and treatment for depression, all while allowing the mothers to spend time with their babies.

Whether Carey would have benefited from such a dedicated treatment program will never be known. Her mother said that her daughter had been hospitalized for her depression, but most programs aren’t focused specifically on issues that women with post partum face.

21 comments
kithy754
kithy754

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Sinu
Sinu

A woman, after giving birth needs proper care to recover from delivery. In the now-a-days system of nuclear family, usually a new mom is left alone to care for the newborn and herself. Boyfriend/Husband is usually at work, or rarely pitches in. In most developing countries a new mother and her newborn is actually cared by the elders for at least two months after giving birth, which allows the woman to rest her body and mind and recover from pregnancy and childbirth.

casrose10
casrose10

How can TIME or anyone diagnosis this woman who was murdered in DC by crazed lunatics with guns.. who also wear uniforms and badges . This article is ridiculous !!! Subjective nonsense.... This article puts woman down... all woman suffer from post postpartum and it does NOT make them crazy....Why is TIME in the Dark Ages ?

If want to educate about postpartum that  every woman who gives birth goes through fine...
But you cannot diagnosis this woman based on her mothers' words which were NOT FACT... but a lady ( her mother ) in extreme shock groping for answers... with media calling her up out of blue demanding reasons... Immediately . 

TIME if you have journalistic abilities... get the camera feed from the whitehouse... as this area where they say she tried to drive through is very very confusing area... I have been there myself.... FIND OUT WHAT REALLY HAPPEN.. Rather then making this poor woman a further victim with such wacko assumptions with NO PROOF.

Also investigate why those shooting into her car at Capitol steps did NOT shoot out her tires.... so she could not move or least when she backed the car up.... The cops froze... WHY ? The films show White men CRAZED over reacting.. No one is safe with males acting like that.... Who have GUNS...... Please..... put the focus where it belongs.. NOT HER. 

Do the REAL story . How the police in DC in factions federal, local, whitehouse capitol etc are  NOT trained and NOT educated... See how much they make a year in Salary... NOTHING.... very little $$ .. They might have a GED education... and for sure NO real cognitive ability.. to connect dots or think... They are Just robots... shoot to KILL Why ?  Do a story on why DC is so dysfunctional . Our Nation capitol... Why such a bigoted place ? 

The only real terrorist are your family and neighbors... Domestic Violence is the #1 killer... Not people on other side of the world.... I like more information on this woman. What was she doing in DC ? Who is the father of her baby ? They say she fell down stairs.. Or was she pushed ?  What i the REAL Story....   Woman who are being abused have extreme fight or flight reactions... like she did... NOT because of mental illness but from Being Abused.... Lets get REAL and Honest. 

FrancineJuneBea
FrancineJuneBea

I feel the media LOVES the term "post-partum depression" because its more relateable because it could happen to any woman after pregnancy. Whereas bipolar, which is most likely the real diagnosis in this situation, only affects 4% of the population. It's so sad that the real issue, over prescription of SSRI's and misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder is not being addressed. Instead the focus is being put on post-partum depression. When people are depressed they don't drive their cars all the way to washing and act manic.

 It is a well known fact that patients suffering from bipolar disorder should NEVER be prescribed SSRI's without the use of mood stabilizer and antipsychotics. If the patient had a history of bipolar disorder symptoms, regardless of what her family currently states, and the doctor still prescribed these SSRI's without properly assessing her state, shouldn't the doctor be held accountable for malpractice?

GreggKolpin
GreggKolpin

All evidence released at this Time indicates the real danger to public safety was from police cars and guns. If Miss Carey was an actual threat, White House SS security cam and Penn Ave traffic cams would support that. Without this supporting evidence, it is equally likely that Miss Carey simply made a wrong turn into 15th and E or was interested in the White House visitor center and ellipse park at that entrance. This was a terrible tragedy. Police use of deadly force was not necessary. The real tragedy for America is for Public Safety and security officials to spin this in the media in an attempt to justify their actions. Obviously, they made a terrible mistake. It is Time for Government Officials to own up to their mistakes rather than "spin and sweep" away their defects. Until that happens, a struggling single mother in America will not be safe.  

jchresto
jchresto

Ban cars in DC, and police from having guns NOW!  And those baby seats are next! Yes this is race related, the girl who sold Miriam the car was an undocumented Chinese Nuclear Physicist between jobs. Maybe this is just an every day tragedy? No, it can not be.... Obamas minions are never involved in everyday occurrences, it has to be something more sinister! So much for the community activist bring people together, our country has never been further apart. The deity (once named God) help us all. 

SheaHar
SheaHar

Okay, she may have been suffering from a mental illness, but that doesn't negate the fact that police acted aggressively. Look at how close they are to the vehicle. Not only did they notice that she was an unarmed African American but that she had a baby in the vehicle. Police officers are trained to instantaneously observe their surroundings when approaching any given situation. In addition, with their technology, they could have stopped her vehicle with spike strips, tire shoot outs... They acted too aggressive for this situation. 

MaryETormey
MaryETormey

She was treated for postpartum depression, but her behavior seems more manic then depressive. Treatments for depression can cause mania and increase suicide risk. The media protects drug companies, but is very quick to blame "mental illness" for anything.


jesusjones5151
jesusjones5151

The race baiters have to be so pissed off that this loser was black. It would have been something to whine about forever if she was white.

GreggKolpin
GreggKolpin

@casrose10 White House SS cam from 15th and E would explain a lot. It is claimed by SS that she tried running through a barricade. I found it interesting the front of her car wasn't damaged to support that claim. Alhurra TV footage didn't indicate her driving wild and out of control. Real and Honest. All evidence suggests she was scared and wanted to get away from threatening out of control LEOs.  

fremenchips
fremenchips

@SheaHar The simple fact is you cannot run over a secret service officer in front of the White House shocking I know. But given how bombers have attempted bulldozing tactics like this before, see the Beirut bombing of 1983 use of deadly force IN FRONT OF THE WHITE HOUSE is entirely understandable.

applefellup
applefellup

@SheaHar She had a baby, all the more reason to shoot-to-kill, She was whelping out new ones!

Openminded1
Openminded1

@SheaHar Pulling the race card bs as i predicted. what do you know about police work and training? You must be black the race card number 1 users. How do you know they saw the child in the back seat? you do not know much about procedure, this was real life not , not an episode of Law and Order moron.

FrancineJuneBea
FrancineJuneBea

@MaryETormey I 100 percent agree. This woman seemed more bipolar than just depressive. SSRI's are well known to trigger severe manic episodes. I've seen this happen too many times.

MattGoli
MattGoli

@jesusjones5151 and yet the only idiot whining is you. this article has to do with mental illness, which affects every race there is including yours by the way you are so focused on something that is totally irrelevant, loser

Nicelaot
Nicelaot

Wow,,,you are so smart.

Might be a good idea to look in the mirror before calling someone you don't even know a loser...

Nicelaot
Nicelaot

Gosh...there are alot of dummies posting here.  Have some compassion, a life has been lost regardless of the circumstances.  And here, clearly someone who needed help.

BTW -  I bet you're no winner yourself.

MattGoli
MattGoli

@Openminded1 @SheaHar  @Openminded1 @SheaHar only a moron would assume they know someone's race by the way they type. only a moron would give a statistic based off of the small world in which they live. only a moron would would make such illiterate assumptions without facts before them, and only a moron would like your stupid comment. you are a disgrace and an embarrassment

Openminded1
Openminded1

@MattGoli @Openminded1 @SheaHar Ah another bleeding heart liberal Moron. You want to place a bet on my prediction as to Sheahar's race. What small world moron I have live a full life and traveled the world, Are you referring to police work? If you are then you are the moron there is nothing small about 30 years in the police world.. Disgrace to whom moron embarrassment to who? Not to me or my family or friends and that is all that matters to me certainly you do not matter. And you assume also that the people who liked my post are morons, only a dumb ass wipe moron would assume they are stupid. Stick to your   little ball you kick around dummy stay out of the world of which you no nothing about. the world of reality. What a pompous ass.