What is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression is a common mental health problem for new mothers. While most people think it only happens right after giving birth, postpartum depression can occur anytime during your baby’s first year of life. This mood disorder causes mothers to experience feelings of anxiety, sadness and exhaustion that make it difficult for them to take care of themselves and their children.
While postpartum depression does not have a single cause, it does result from mental and physical factors. After giving birth, the levels of estrogen and progesterone hormones immediately drop in a woman’s body. This can cause chemical changes in the brain which can trigger mood swings. It’s also difficult to get enough sleep when you have a new baby. Many women don’t fully recover after giving birth. Such constant sleep deprivation can lead to physical illness and exhaustion, which contributes to postpartum depression symptoms.
What are the Physical Symptoms?
- Feeling sad, hopeless, empty or overwhelmed
- Crying often and for no apparent reason
- Worrying or feeling overly anxious
- Moodiness, irritability or restlessness
- Oversleeping or being unable to sleep
- Trouble concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
- Anger or rage
- Loss of interest in activities that are normally enjoyable
- Physical aches and pains, including frequent headaches, stomach problems or muscle pain
- Eating too little or too much
- Withdrawing from friends or family
- Trouble bonding or forming an emotional attachment to the baby
- Doubting ability to take care of baby
- Thoughts of harming herself or the baby
How is Postpartum Depression Treated?
At the Family Counseling Center, we provide effective treatments for postpartum depression. These treatments include:
- Counseling/Talk Therapy: This involves talking one-on-one with a therapist, counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist or social worker. The two most effective types of counseling are cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy. CBT helps people recognize and change negative thoughts and IPT helps people understand and work through problematic relationships.
- Medication: Antidepressant medications work with the brain chemicals that are involved in mood regulation. Many antidepressants take a few weeks to work and while most are considered safe to use during breastfeeding, a woman should talk to her healthcare provider about the risks and benefits.
If you live in Murray, Utah and need treatment for postpartum depression, call the Family Counseling Center. Our licensed professionals are here to offer you support, comfort and guidance through this difficult time.