Treatment for Postpartum Depression
Mood swings, crying spells, and trouble sleeping are common to new moms and often called the “baby blues,” but low energy, poor eating habits, irritability, and withdrawal from everyday life may be signs of a more serious mental illness called postpartum depression. Thankfully, the symptoms can be managed or eliminated.
WHAT IS POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION?
The Office on Women’s Health, of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, says of postpartum depression: “If you feel empty, emotionless, or sad all or most of the time for longer than 2 weeks during or after pregnancy, reach out for help. If you feel like you don’t love or care for your baby, you might have postpartum depression.” Treatment, including psychotherapy or ketamine, works and can help eliminate or manage the symptoms.
SYMPTOMS OF POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION
- Feeling moody or restless
- Feeling sad or overwhelmed
- Crying episodes
- Having notions of hurting your baby
- Constant thoughts of harming yourself
- Lack of energy or motivation
- Changes in eating behavior
- Trouble sleeping
- Having problems making decisions or focusing
- Problems remembering
- Feeling guilty, worthless, or like a terrible mother
- Losing pleasure or interest in pastimes you used to enjoy
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Having aches and pains, headaches, or digestive troubles that are very persistent
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS?
There are numerous elements which could put women in jeopardy of postpartum depression:
- Traumatic life experiences
- Negligible social support
- Prior experience with sadness
- A history of depression among blood relatives
- Trouble getting pregnant
- You are a mom to many kids, like twins, or triplets
- You had a teen pregnancy
- Delivered a baby prematurely
- Suffered pregnancy or birth difficulties
- You have another child who was hospitalized
Depression can also happen after a healthy pregnancy and birth.
HOW DOES POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION CHANGE A FAMILY?
Postpartum depression and other mental illnesses can have severe destructive outcomes for the mother, new baby, and friends and family. When symptoms begin, a mental health professional should be consulted about different treatment plans. Being unified – showing understanding, empathy, and resolve – is critical to surviving anxiety as a family unit.
WHAT OTHER MENTAL DISORDERS DO NEW MOMS EXPERIENCE?
Given the kinds of emotions a new mother experiences, and the hectic changes she has endured, it is normal for women to show signs of other mental ailments besides postpartum depression. Sadness, lack of energy, hopelessness, inability to focus on or finish daily tasks, may be symptoms of a profound disorder. These kinds of disorders to watch for include Major depressive disorder, Dysthymic disorder, Psychotic depression, Seasonal affective disorder, Bipolar depression, and many others.
A doctor or mental health professional may treat symptoms of postpartum or any other depression with therapy, medicines like ketamine, or any appropriate combination.
- Major depressive disorder. May be caused by genetics, psychological, and environmental factors. Symptoms may include low esteem, sadness, hopelessness.
- Dysthymic disorder is a continual, long-term form of depression characterized by irritability, sleeplessness, and other symptoms.
- Psychotic depression is a severe form of the illness and may include episodes of hallucinations or delusions.
- The seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression that normally occurs in the colder months where there are fewer hours of natural sunlight.
- Bipolar depression was once known as manic depression and may be triggered by structural or functional changes in the brain, including chemical imbalances.
HOW IS POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION DIAGNOSED?
Your doctor will normally talk with a new mom about feelings, thoughts, and mental health wellness to decide between short-term “baby blues” and a more serious kind of depression. Sharing the symptoms will ensure that a helpful treatment can be designed for you. You may undergo:
A depression screening and be asked to complete a questionnaire
Blood tests to determine if an underactive thyroid is triggering your signs and symptoms
Order other tests, if needed
TREATMENT FOR POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION
Short-term “baby blues” can be treated with sleep, healthy eating, and quality time with loved ones. More serious postpartum depression is normally treated with psychotherapy, which may last several months or more. Your doctor may also suggest an alternative, such as the use of ketamine or ketamine derived drugs, dispensed as a nasal spray or through in-clinic infusion therapy, to treat the symptoms. Be sure to ask about the risks and benefits of any treatment option.
Recognizing the signs of postpartum depression, and understanding they are worse than the “baby blues,” will help you overcome the symptoms and start enjoying not only your baby, but family, friends, and your life, in general. The next step is seeing a doctor, who will diagnose the illness and any underlying conditions. From there, you and your healthcare provider will decide on which treatment is best, given your overall mental and physical health and preferences.
If you or a loved one are dealing with the symptoms of depression we can help. Contact us today to learn more about the clinical use of ketamine.