What You Need to Know About Postpartum Depression – Treatment and Prevention

We have gained a better understanding of what the baby blues, postpartum depression, and postpartum psychosis are and how to differentiate them in "What You Need to Know about Postpartum Depression – Symptoms and Causes". In this article, we will be going into the different ways in which postpartum depression and psychosis can be treated. 

 
Why Get Treated

Treating postpartum depression is vital, as leaving it untreated can interfere with mother-child bonding, which could result in child developmental problems. Children of mothers with postpartum depression tend to exhibit problematic behavior such as acting out, temper tantrums, hyperactivity, and sleeping and eating difficulties. In more serious cases, untreated postpartum depression can develop into a chronic depressive disorder. 

Treatment of Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression can be treated in a few months, but when left untreated it can drag on for a year or even more. Make sure that you follow through with your doctor's prescribed treatment otherwise you might relapse.

• Counseling: Talking about your concerns with a mental health specialist such as a psychiatrist or psychologist can help put your mind at ease and will give you the opportunity to find good ways to cope with your feelings. Your specialist can also offer ways of solving problems and help you achieve your goals.

• Antidepressants: Antidepressants are a great way of treating postpartum depression, but if you're breastfeeding you need to check with your doctor whether your medication may affect your child. Weigh the risks and benefits with your doctor before choosing a particular medication.

• Hormone Therapy: Childbirth can lead to a dramatic drop in estrogen levels, and so hormone therapy might be needed to augment your estrogen. You will need to discuss with your doctor whether this is a good course of action in your case.


Treatment of Postpartum Psychosis

Postpartum psychosis is a very serious condition and requires immediate treatment to ensure the continued safety of both the mother and her baby. Different medications might be used such as antidepressants, antipsychotic medications and mood stabilizers to control the condition. Your mental health specialist or doctor might have more information for you on different treatment procedures.


Prevention

You can help keep depression at bay by getting an early postpartum checkup to check for potential symptoms of postpartum depression. You can also help control it by doing the following:

• Make healthy lifestyle choices. This includes getting enough rest and physical stimulation to remain healthy and rested. Eat healthy foods, take frequent naps whenever possible and follow a simple exercise routine, such as taking your baby for a walk on a regular basis.

• Set realistic expectations. You're only human; don't force yourself to do more than you can achieve. Doing so would just leave you feeling disappointed, frustrated and most probably exhausted. Learn to ask for help when you need it.

• Make time for yourself. Allowing yourself to become stressed and overwhelmed won't help you or your family. Set aside some time for yourself to do the things you enjoy. Dress up, go out and have some fun.

• Avoid isolation. If you're feeling down or anxious about something, talk to your spouse, family or friends about it. You can also ask other mothers for advice or stories about their experiences.