The birth of a baby is often referred to as one of the best days in a parent’s life. But with pregnancy and birth come challenges and changes that new parents have to face. Lack of sleep, anxiety, post-birth pain and learning to juggle your own schedule are just a few of these changes. Often new mothers find themselves dealing with more than they expected. Postpartum depression, or PPD, is a common complication of birth and pregnancy. It is a mental health illness that is classified by professionals as a type of depression. Recent studies have shown that 1 in 7 women in the United States has shown symptoms of mild to severe PPD.
Postpartum depression is often mistaken early on as “baby blues”. Most women find themselves very prone to anxiety or crying after giving birth as hormones are still all over the place. Other symptoms may include sadness and irritability. But some find that these symptoms only increase and are magnified as time goes on. PPD symptoms signs and symptoms include excessive sadness, crying, being unable to emotionally attach to your baby, a sense of emptiness or hopelessness, fatigue, intense anger, severe anxiety or panic attacks, thoughts of harm and suicidal thoughts or ideations. In very rare cases, postpartum psychosis can occur which can cause confusion, hallucinations, paranoia, self-harm attempts and even death.
There is no single cause of PPD as it has multiple factors that include hormonal changes, thyroid issues as well sleep deprivation and the stress level of being a new parent. Women who have a history of anxiety, depression, bipolar or other mental illnesses are at a greater risk of developing PPD. Because PPD usually has multiple factors, the solution and treatment options are not a one size fits all approach. Thankfully, women have many treatment options to choose from.
One of the most common treatment options used by women in the United States are prescription medications known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, also known as SSRI’s. These include Zoloft, Prozac, Wellbutrin as well as Lexapro. Prescribed and monitored under the care of a doctor, these medications can have excellent results in helping new mothers get back on track with their mental health.
Self-care is important to all new mothers but vital to women battling PPD. Eating a balanced nutritional diet while getting exercise and rest has been proven in studies to promote a better sense of well being and help with post-birth recovery. Simple things such as a walk in the fresh air or the mall, a fruit smoothie for breakfast, or a 20-minute nap can go a long way. Meditation and other alternative relaxation techniques can be practiced to combat the symptoms of fear and anxiety.
Therapy can also be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. When facilitated by a psychotherapist, individual counseling along with group therapy often give women the tools and support they need to feel better. Isolation is dangerous for mothers with PPD and asking for help when needed is necessary for recovery.
Postpartum Depression is common among mothers of all ages, races, and walks of life and no one should feel ashamed to reach out and seek help. For more information or to talk about treatment options, contact one of our experienced psychotherapists today.
Depression, sadness, anxiety disorders, stress, and worry can make it difficult to find happiness in your life. We all need support at different times in our lives. Most of our clients seek help when their current way of dealing with life’s challenges no longer works for them. With a caring, non-judgmental and solution-focused approach, we will explore your issues and challenges in a safe therapeutic environment at our private practice in Delray Beach, Florida.
We also offer remote online therapy from the comfort and security of home that will allow you to learn more effective ways of managing your anxiety and stress.
Let’s walk the path to freedom from depression and anxiety together. If you’re ready to let go of the sadness, depression, fears, worries, and anxieties that are making life difficult, check out our Anxiety & Depression Support Group hosted the 1st Tuesday of each month at the Counseling Center for Growth and Recovery.