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Postpartum Depression Therapy

Postpartum Depression: Signs and Layers of Understanding:

How Long Can It Last, Its Treatment, Prevention, and Recovery

Have you recently become a parent and are now feeling an unsettling wave of sadness, disconnection, and heaviness bearing down on you? Do you question the commonality of this experience - 'how common is postpartum depression?' Are you searching for ways to navigate around this unfamiliar territory and yearn for clarity regarding 'how to deal with postpartum depression'?

The myriad feelings that tumble in after welcoming life into this world can often make you wonder about the worrying signs of postpartum depression. All the emotions of detachment, sadness, and a constant sense of being overwhelmed can indeed be expected as you adjust to the new commitment to meeting your baby's needs. As you move towards this phase, postpartum depression quotes resonating with your current situation might become your silent companions.

However, if these feelings continue to persist and amplify beyond a few weeks, you may be grappling with the symptoms of postpartum depression. Consequently, you would find yourself wrestling with questions like 'How long can postpartum depression last?' Here, taking a postpartum depression quiz could shed some light on your situation.

What is postpartum depression?

So, precisely what is postpartum depression? It is a mood disorder that affects women and, in some instances, men, thereby broadening the scope of incorporating male postpartum depression as an essential realm for scrutiny. This disorder inevitably trails after birth, where the signs can emerge even during pregnancy and persist for months post-childbirth. Most mothers will undergo postpartum blues or mood swings following birth due to fluctuating hormones - a condition comparatively lighter, hence, often dubbed as 'postpartum blues vs. depression.' Yet the puzzle persists - 'how common is postpartum depression?

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How long can postpartum depression last?

While the blues merely last for a few weeks, postpartum depression can extend far longer, growing in severity. This naturally raises the question: 'How long can postpartum depression last?' To battle this persistent challenge, understanding 'how to prevent postpartum depression and 'how to treat postpartum depression' becomes critical. Unguided attempts to understand this domain could be fruitless; thus, postpartum depression treatment primarily relies on therapy. Therapy acts as your compass, helping you learn 'how to treat postpartum depression' and 'how to overcome postpartum depression.'
In the path to recovery, recognizing the signs of postpartum depression is crucial. And remember - only when the clouds of postpartum depression fade away, the sunshine of motherhood truly gleams.

Symptoms

Symptoms of depression after childbirth vary, and they can range from mild to severe.

Baby blues symptoms

Symptoms of baby blues — which last only a few days to a week or two after your baby is born — may include:

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Irritability
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Crying
  • Reduced concentration
  • Appetite problems
  • Trouble sleeping

Postpartum depression symptoms

Postpartum depression may be mistaken for baby blues at first — but the symptoms are more intense and last longer. These may eventually interfere with your ability to care for your baby and handle other daily tasks. Symptoms usually develop within the first few weeks after giving birth. But they may begin earlier — during pregnancy — or later — up to a year after birth.

Postpartum depression symptoms may include:

  • Depressed mood or severe mood swings
  • Crying too much
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual
  • Inability to sleep, called insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Overwhelming tiredness or loss of energy
  • Less interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
  • Intense irritability and anger
  • Fear that you're not a good mother
  • Hopelessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt, or inadequacy
  • Reduced ability to think, concentrate, or make decisions
  • Restlessness
  • Severe anxiety and panic attacks
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
Untreated, postpartum depression may last for many months or longer.

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Postpartum psychosis

With postpartum psychosis — a rare condition that usually develops within the first week after delivery — the symptoms are severe. Symptoms may include:

  • Feeling confused and lost
  • Having obsessive thoughts about your baby
  • Hallucinating and having delusions
  • Having sleep problems
  • Having too much energy and feeling upset
  • Feeling paranoid
  • Making attempts to harm yourself or your baby

Postpartum psychosis may lead to life-threatening thoughts or behaviors and requires immediate treatment.

When to reach out for help

  • You are experiencing several of the symptoms above
  • The symptoms last more than two weeks
  • Your symptoms are getting worse
  • You are having trouble caring for yourself and your baby
  • If you want to talk about all of these changes

Helping a friend or loved one.

People with depression may not recognize or admit that they're depressed. They may not be aware of the signs and symptoms of depression. If you suspect that a friend or loved one has postpartum depression or is developing postpartum psychosis, help them seek medical attention immediately. Don't wait and hope for improvement.

Postpartum Depression vs Postpartum Blues

Postpartum Depression and Postpartum Blues are two different conditions that can occur after a woman gives birth.

  • Postpartum Depression is a severe mental health condition that involves feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that can make it difficult for the new mother to complete daily care activities for herself or others. It's more severe and long-lasting than Postpartum Blues.
  • Postpartum Blues, also known as "baby blues," is a familiar and short-term feeling of being down or depressed that many women experience in the first week or two after giving birth. What are the baby blues? Symptoms can include mood swings, crying spells, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping.

In simpler terms, think of Postpartum Depression as a heavy cloud that hangs over a new mother for a long time, making it hard for her to function. On the other hand, Postpartum Blues is like a passing rain shower that leaves quickly but can still make the new mother feel a bit down and anxious.

It's important to note that both conditions are normal and treatable. If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, seeking help from a healthcare professional is crucial.

Causes of Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Depression: Contributing Factors and Risk Elements Contributing Factors:

Contributing Factors:

  • Genetics: A family history of postpartum depression, particularly severe cases, can heighten the likelihood of experiencing it.
  • Physical Changes: Post-delivery hormonal fluctuations, including steep declines in estrogen, progesterone, and thyroid hormones, can lead to symptoms of postpartum depression.
  • Emotional Strain: A lack of sleep and feeling overwhelmed can exacerbate minor issues, leading to anxiety about childcare, feelings of unattractiveness, identity struggles, and a sense of lost control, all of which may trigger postpartum depression.

Risk Factors:

  • Previous Depression: A personal history of depression or bipolar disorder, whether related to pregnancy or not, can increase risk.
  • Previous Postpartum Depression: Experiencing postpartum depression in past pregnancies is a significant risk factor.
  • Family History: A family history of depression or mood disorders can predispose one to postpartum depression.
  • Recent Stress: Life stressors such as complications during pregnancy, health issues, or job loss can elevate risk levels.
  • Baby's Health: Health problems or special needs in the newborn can contribute to the development of postpartum depression.
  • Multiple Births: The birth of twins, triplets, or more can amplify stress and the risk of postpartum depression.
  • Breastfeeding Challenges: Difficulties with breastfeeding can be a contributing factor.
  • Relationship Issues: Problems with a spouse or partner may increase the risk.
  • Support System: A lack of solid support can make new mothers more susceptible to postpartum depression.
  • Financial Strain: Economic difficulties can be a risk factor.
  • Unintended Pregnancy: An unplanned or unwanted pregnancy might heighten the risk of postpartum depression.

It's important to note that postpartum depression can occur after the birth of any child, not exclusively the firstborn.
Postpartum depression is often treated with psychotherapy and medication.

  • Postpartum depression psychotherapy. Postpartum depression concerns may benefit from a conversation with a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health professional specializing in postpartum depression. Through this targeted therapy, you can find more effective ways to deal with your feelings related to postpartum depression, solve problems, set realistic goals, and respond to situations in a positive way. Sometimes, family or relationship therapy also helps combat postpartum depression. Therapies utilized for postpartum depression include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) specifically designed for postpartum depression and interpersonal psychotherapy concentrated on postpartum depression.
  • Antidepressants. Your healthcare provider may recommend an antidepressant. If you're breastfeeding, any medicine you take will enter your breast milk. However, most antidepressants can be used during breastfeeding with little risk of side effects for your baby. Work with your provider to weigh the potential risks and benefits of specific antidepressants.
  • Other medicines. When needed, other medicines may be added to your treatment. For example, if you have postpartum depression that includes severe anxiety or insomnia, an antianxiety medicine may be recommended for a short time.
  • How can therapy help you overcome postpartum depression?
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Mental Health Services and Psychotherapy

Several types of psychotherapy (also called talk therapy or counseling) can help women with perinatal depression, often referred to as postpartum depression. These treatments teach them new ways of thinking and behaving, aiding them to alter habits that contribute to this form of depression. Evidence-based therapies for postpartum depression include cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT):

With CBT, people suffering from postpartum depression learn to challenge and change unhelpful thoughts and behaviors. This improves their depressive feelings and anxiety related to postpartum depression. They also learn different ways of reacting to situations. CBT can be conducted individually or with a group of people who exhibit similar concerns associated with postpartum depression.

Interpersonal therapy (IPT): 

IPT is based on the idea that interpersonal and life events impact mood and vice versa, especially in cases of postpartum depression. IPT aims to help these individuals improve their communication skills within relationships, form social support networks, and develop realistic expectations to better deal with crises or other issues contributing to their condition of postpartum depression.

Lifestyle and home remedies for postpartum depression

In addition to postpartum depression treatment by a professional, there are some self-help techniques you can undertake that build on your treatment plan and help to speed recovery from postpartum depression.

Emphasize healthy lifestyle choices. 

This is a valuable strategy on how to deal with postpartum depression. Incorporate physical activity, such as a gentle stroll with your baby, and other forms of exercise into your daily routine. Strive to get sufficient sleep and eat healthful foods while abstaining from alcohol. 

Set realistic expectations. 

In understanding how to overcome postpartum depression, do not pressure yourself to take on too much. Scale back your expectations for maintaining a perfect household. Undertake what you can and allow yourself to leave the rest.

Devote time for your own needs. 

Carve out some personal time and escape the confines of the house. This could mean trusting your partner or sitter with the baby's care. Delight in something you relish, like a hobby or a form of entertainment. Consider also setting aside some time alone with your partner or friends, which forms part of knowing how to deal with postpartum depression.

Evade isolation. 

Talk about your postpartum depression with your partner, family, and friends. Inquire other mothers about their experiences in managing postpartum depression. Breaking this isolation may assist you in feeling connected again.

Seek assistance. 

This is pivotal in postpartum depression treatment. Try to share your feelings with those close to you and let them know you require help. If someone proposes to babysit, accept. Grab the opportunity to sleep, nap, go to a movie, or meet for a casual coffee with friends. You could also see the benefit of seeking help in learning parenting skills that can include caregiving techniques to augment your baby's sleep and soothe fusses and cries, thereby aiding in knowing how to overcome postpartum depression.

The initial weeks of motherhood are a wonderful yet challenging experience. You and your adorable new arrival are getting to understand each other, each moment precious but layered with its own set of hardships. Irregular sleeping patterns, a seeming lack of 'me time,' evolution in your relationship with your partner, and tumultuous hormones can leave you feeling unsteady. This period can be likened to the contrast between postpartum blues and depression. During this vulnerable time, feeling supported is crucial. Therapy can offer reassurance, create a haven for your emotions, and provide tools on how to overcome postpartum depression.

Many women feel shrouded in guilt, experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression and fearing judgment or the unfounded accusation of being an unfit mother. Some even question how long postpartum depression can last. You should know you are not alone in rallying with these symptoms. As many as 1 in 7 women are estimated to go through postpartum depression.

Male Postpartum Depression

The plight of living with the symptoms of postpartum depression is grave but treatable. And not just women; postpartum depression in men is a reality, too. With the right help, postpartum depression screening, and postpartum depression medication, you can regain your sense of self and, more importantly, enjoy being a parent to your delightful baby. After all, in this journey of motherhood, a postpartum depression test can be an enlightening step toward understanding and addressing one's feelings.

Postpartum Depression Treatment

Postpartum Depression Treatment refers to the methods used to help a person recover from depression that can occur after giving birth. This type of depression is known as postpartum depression. The term "postpartum" means "after childbirth," so this type of depression is specifically related to the physical and emotional changes that can happen after a person has a baby.

The treatment for postpartum depression can involve different strategies, including therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. Therapy might include talking to a mental health professional about your feelings and experiences. Medication could consist of antidepressants, which are drugs that can help manage the symptoms of depression. Lifestyle changes might involve things like getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and making sure to get enough sleep.
It's important to remember that postpartum depression is a severe condition that can have a significant impact on a person's life. But with the proper treatment, it's possible to manage the symptoms and return to feeling like yourself again.

Remember, if you're struggling with postpartum depression, you're not alone. Many resources are available to help you, including healthcare professionals, support groups, and online communities. Don't hesitate to reach out for help if you need it.
Remember, YOU are the best parent for your baby and deserve to feel your absolute best. Postpartum depression quotes often remind us, "There is a light at the end of the tunnel," Shoreside Therapies is here to help you navigate towards that light, allowing you to bolster your confidence in your parenting abilities.

FAQ Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Depression is a mood disorder that can affect women after childbirth. It involves feelings of sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that can interfere with a mother's ability to care for herself and her baby.

Common symptoms include persistent sadness, fatigue, changes in sleep and appetite, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, difficulty bonding with the baby, and thoughts of self-harm or harming the baby.

PPD can begin within the first few weeks after childbirth, but it can also develop later, even up to a year after giving birth.

Risk factors include a history of depression, a lack of social support, stressful life events, hormonal changes, and complications during pregnancy or childbirth.

Depression is a common problem after pregnancy. One in 8 new mothers report experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression in the year after childbirth.1

The duration varies. With proper treatment and support, many women recover within a few months. However, it can persist for a more extended period in some cases.

While it may not be entirely preventable, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, seeking support, and addressing risk factors can reduce the likelihood and severity of PPD.

Yes, fathers and partners can also experience depression after the birth of a child. It's essential to recognize and address their mental health as well.

Offer emotional support, help with daily tasks, encourage seeking professional help, and be understanding. Avoid judgment and criticism.

While some mild cases may improve without intervention, seeking help is crucial. PPD can worsen and have long-term consequences if left untreated.

Treatment may include therapy (individual or group), medication (antidepressants), support groups, and lifestyle changes. The choice of treatment depends on the severity of symptoms and personal circumstances.

Diagnosis involves a thorough evaluation by a healthcare professional, considering symptoms and medical history, and sometimes using specific screening tools.

Yes, the "baby blues" involve mild mood swings, tearfulness, and feelings of vulnerability, and they typically resolve on their own within a couple of weeks. PPD is more severe and persistent.

Postpartum depression can start during pregnancy or within the first few weeks after giving birth. It can also develop up to a year after childbirth.

Caring for a newborn is challenging enough; seeking help shouldn't add to that stress. Just know you have convenient options. Virtual discussions, making your baby a part of these sessions, or phone consultations can be arranged if securing childcare is an issue for you.

Don't hesitate to reach out if you are grappling with any of the above-mentioned symptoms. How to treat postpartum depression, how to distinguish postpartum blues vs depression: I am here to guide you through these questions. Together, we can emerge stronger.

Additional Resources:

Postpartum support international

Call the PSI Helpline: 1-800-944-4773

Mental Health Hotline

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is here and ready to help. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline provides free and confidential support for anyone experiencing a suicidal, mental health, and substance use crisis. People of all ages who need help for themselves or a loved one can call, text, or chat 24/7

Wisconsin Wellness Podcast 

The Wisconsin Wellness Podcast, with a consistent spotlight on parenthood topics like postpartum depression, is hosted by Laurie Groh. For a full month, issues such as postpartum depression and its various aspects will be discussed.

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Contact Claire

Laila Wiechmann, MS, LPC, LADC

Ready to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation?

Claire Whetter PhD, LPC-IT, NCC

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