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Postpartum Depression Treatments

(Also Known As: Postpartum Treatments, Depression Treatments, Baby Blues Treatments, Pregnancy Depression Treatments, Maternity Blues Treatments, Postpartum Exhaustion Treatments)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What Kinds of Postpartum Depression Treatments are Available?

The treatments involved with postpartum depression are similar to the treatment provided for common depressive disorders. Oftentimes the postpartum depression of a mother goes away within 3 months of giving birth. 6 Treatment is often sought once the depression of the mother lasts more than this duration and when it interferes with the mother’s functioning. The combination of pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy are the best treatment approach for postpartum depression. Baby blues do not need treatment as it usually normally fades away within 2 weeks of the postpartum blues episode.

The following are the common treatment methods used for postpartum depression:

Medication

  • Prescribing medications help address the immediate problems of sleep deprivation and changes in appetite.
  • The main choice of medication for postpartum depression is antidepressants.
    • There are various antidepressants with less potential risk to the baby. Breastfeeding mothers should be aware that the medication they take will enter their breast milk thus they should discuss with their physicians the benefits and risks of taking any drugs.

Psychotherapy

  • Counseling provides mothers a good outlet in expressing their feelings to a psychologist or psychiatrist. They are taught positive coping mechanisms for their depression and resolve conflicting problems and set realistic goals.
  • Talk therapy provides mothers emotional support to resolve their depression. In some cases of postpartum depression talk therapy alone can be an effective treatment to the condition.
  • Support groups can provide mothers useful information on how to cope with their everyday stress by learning from the experiences of those who have surpassed the condition.

Hormonal Treatment

  • Estrogen therapy helps in counteracting the sudden drop of estrogen during childbirth. This helps ease the symptoms of depression in women.

The key to the successful treatment of postpartum depression consists of early diagnosis of the condition. There 3 phases involved with the treatment of postpartum depression as follow:

  • Acute treatment Phase (6 – 12 weeks) is aimed at remission of symptoms
  • Continuation phase (4 – 9 months) is aimed at recovery and stabilization
  • Maintenance treatment phase is aimed to prevent the recurrence of the condition in persons with prior episodes.

The pharmacotherapy treatment is usually reserved for treating those with chronic or severe symptoms, with prior response to treatment, and with prior family history or episodes of the condition. The psychotherapy approach is best with persons having severe depression, incomplete response to medication, suffering from chronic psychosocial problems, and those with evidence of concurrent personality disorder.

Postpartum Psychosis Treatment

The treatment for postpartum psychosis is needed immediately as there is the tendency for the mother to harm their baby and themselves. The postpartum psychosis is a severe form of postpartum depression that is accompanied with personality disorders which requires the patient to be treated with a combination of medications such as antipsychotic drugs, antidepressant and mood stabilizers. Some use electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) for treatment, where a small amount of electrical current is applied to the brain in order to produce brain waves that are similar to the one that occurs during seizure. The symptoms of depression are reduced by the chemical changes triggered by the electrical currents which are helpful when immediate result of treatment is desired.

Could You Have Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum Depression Topics

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