Part 2: Management of Post-Partum Depression
The adjustment to motherhood can be very stressful as you learn to navigate your new role, balancing care for yourself and an infant (and possibly other children and family members). This can be demanding, exhausting and overwhelming. If you are a new mom with feelings of anxiety or depression, you may even feel guilty or ashamed. It is important to know that postpartum depression is not your fault. Postpartum depression is a medical condition that can be treated. By sharing your feelings with a professional, you will be on your way to making positive changes that will have a big impact on your daily well-being.
Treatment and recovery time vary, depending on the severity of post-partum depression and individual needs. If person is having an underactive thyroid or an underlying illness, Doctor may treat those conditions or refer that individual to the appropriate specialist. Treating doctor may also refer you to a mental health professional.
The baby blues usually fade on their own within a few days to one to two weeks. In the meantime:
- Get as much rest as you can.
- Accept help from family and friends.
- Connect with other new moms.
- Create time to take care of yourself.
- Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs, which can make mood swings worse.
Postpartum depression is often treated with psychotherapy (also called talk therapy or mental health counselling), medication or both.
- Psychotherapy. It may help to talk through your concerns with a psychiatrist, Clinical Psychologist or other mental health professional. Through therapy, you can find better ways to cope with your feelings, solve problems, set realistic goals and respond to situations in a positive way. Sometimes family or relationship therapy also helps.
- Antidepressants. Psychiatrists may recommend an antidepressant or other medications according to the need of an individuals. If you’re breast-feeding, any medication you take will enter your breast milk. However, most antidepressants can be used during breast-feeding with little risk of side effects for your baby. Work with your treating doctor to weigh the potential risks and benefits of specific antidepressants.
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is a form of brain stimulation therapy used to treat depression, anxiety, OCD and post-partum depression. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved rTMS as a treatment for major depression when other treatments haven’t been effective. The most qualified candidates for rTMS are people with depression who haven’t had success with other methods. Researches has suggested rTMS is really effective in treating cases of Post-Partum Depression.
With appropriate treatment, postpartum depression symptoms usually improve. In some cases, postpartum depression can continue, becoming chronic depression. It’s important to continue treatment after you begin to feel better. Stopping treatment too early may lead to a relapse
Postpartum psychosis requires immediate treatment, usually in the hospital. Treatment may include:
- Medication. Treatment may require a combination of medications — such as antipsychotic medications, mood stabilizers and benzodiazepines — to control your signs and symptoms.
- Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). If your postpartum depression is severe and you experience postpartum psychosis, ECT may be recommended if symptoms do not respond to medication. ECT is a procedure in which small electrical currents are passed through the brain, intentionally triggering a brief seizure. ECT seems to cause changes in brain chemistry that can reduce the symptoms of psychosis and depression, especially when other treatments have been unsuccessful.
Treatment for postpartum psychosis can challenge a mother’s ability to breast-feed. Separation from the baby makes breast-feeding difficult, and some medications used to treat postpartum psychosis aren’t recommended for women who are breast-feeding. If you’re experiencing postpartum psychosis, your treating doctor can help you work through these challenges.