A new study has found that grandmothers who are full-time caregivers of their grandchildren are more susceptible to depression that requires assistance. The study was conducted by researchers from Case Western Reserve University’s Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing.
Carol Musil, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor of nursing, led this long-term study on grandmothers and has stated: “Although we expected the primary caregiver grandmothers raising grandchildren would have more strain and depressive symptoms, we were surprised at how persistent these were over the years examined in the study.”
The study’s results were reported in Nursing Outlook, which is the journal of the American Academy of Nursing and the Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science. The research discovered that when grandmothers care for grandchildren full-time, they are more prone to depression and other family stresses. A good sign, however, is that the study learned that these grandmothers are also very open to getting help. While therapy and medication is often used to treat depression, studies have shown that many other sufferers don’t seek assistance because of the stigma attached to the condition.
Depression is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide and is often treated (both during pregnancy and post-natal) with antidepressant drugs like Paxil, which could do more harm than good. Drugs like Paxil are linked to increased episodes of violent and suicidal thoughts and behavior as well as birth defects in babies born to mothers who take them while pregnant. Some of the birth defects linked to Paxil use include PPHN, spina bifida, neural tube defects and heart, lung and brain defects. These complications are why doctors are constantly looking for non-medicinal ways to help treat depression in women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant. While most of these side effects don’t cause concern for grandmothers, the suicide and violence risks should be monitored.