Postpartum depression, or the baby blues, is a debilitating mental health disorder. Recommendations for treating the baby blues are good guidelines for aiding in recovery from postpartum depression. These strategies may include accepting help, practicing self-care and getting as much rest as possible.
However, these approaches may not be enough to treat postpartum depression. When contemplating how to treat postpartum depression, an individual might consider talk therapy and medication. Treatment for postpartum depression may initially include hospitalization to achieve stability.
Therapy for Postpartum Depression
Postpartum counseling may consist of improving an individual’s ability to cope and making realistic expectations.
- Psychotherapy: In traditional talk therapy, a person with postpartum depression can talk about his or her feelings and concerns. Underlying causes for symptoms may be identified and then treated.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for postpartum depression focuses on creating realistic expectations for oneself and other people. It also involves changing faulty thinking patterns. Replacing negative feelings with new, effective and positive beliefs can reduce other symptoms of postpartum depression.
- Psychoeducation: In psychoeducation, a postpartum depression therapist educates mothers about postpartum depression to normalize symptoms. Understanding symptoms and learning coping skills are key components of psychoeducational approaches. This approach may be used alone or with other therapies.
- Support Groups: Some women may find it helpful to join a support group either for postpartum depression or new moms in general. These groups can help reduce feelings of inadequacy while creating social connections.
Medications Used for Treating Postpartum Depression
Medications for new mothers are sometimes limited to ensure that the baby does not experience any negative effects of the medication. Which is why previously, medicine for postpartum depression was limited to antidepressants. However, On March 19, 2019, Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved Zulresso, the first-ever drug designed to treat postpartum depression. Zulresso works by mimicking progesterone and estrogen, two hormones in a woman’s body that often drop quickly after birth. With treatment, these hormones are replaced and the levels become more stable, improving the symptoms of PPD.
Treatment for Postpartum Depression and Co-Occurring Conditions
Postpartum depression and anxiety often occur together. In many cases, the anxiety of having a new baby occurs before the symptoms of postpartum depression. Pre-existing anxiety may also predispose a mother to develop postpartum depression.
For mothers who have a history of substance abuse, the stress of having a new baby may lead to a recurrence of use. Mothers who experience postpartum depression may turn to substance use to self-medicate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Risky patterns of substance use during this critical time may increase the probability of future dependency.
It is important to treat addiction and postpartum depression together, especially if the mother is breastfeeding. During treatment, medical professionals aim to ensure that the child is not negatively affected. They also strive to assist the mother in developing a network of support and coping strategies to avoid a recurrence of use and depressive symptoms.
If you’re grappling with postpartum depression and a substance use disorder, contact The Recovery Village to learn about how treatment can help you improve your symptoms. The Recovery Village employs medical professionals who use evidence-based approaches in treating addiction and mental illness. Call the facility today to learn more.