Far too many new mothers are having their joy and bliss robbed by postpartum depression (PPD), a dark and painfully debilitating condition. Medical researchers tell us that approximately one in every seven new mothers will experience this form of depression rather than enjoying the celebrations that typically accompany the arrival of a newborn. In this article, we’ll talk about the symptoms of PPD, and introduce treatments designed to significantly dampen its effect.
Do I Have Postpartum Depression?
It’s normal for new mothers to experience a few days of moodiness, irritability, sorrow and difficulty in concentration. Known as the baby blues, these symptoms typically fade away after a few days or a couple of weeks at the most.
PPD, however, often reveals itself in the form of much more serious symptoms – including thoughts of self-harm – that tend to last much longer than the baby blues. One study found that women with PPD were still experiencing symptoms up to three years after giving birth.
Other symptoms of PPD for mothers include:
- A sense of being overwhelmed by the responsibilities of motherhood
- Not sensing a bond with the newborn
- Significant loss of energy
- Inability to stop crying
- Feeling no purpose in life
The simple fact that PPD is a form of depression makes it a serious issue. If left untreated, PPD can continue to wreak havoc within the family household for years. Treatment for PPD is available in various forms.
Psychotherapy – Whether it’s performed one-on-one, with a group or as a couple, psychotherapy focuses on the specific interpersonal changes going on within the mother’s body and brain. Utilizing a lot of “self-talk” with a licensed counselor, the goal is for the mother to gain insight and understanding of the thought patterns she is experiencing.
Medicine – Name brand antidepressants (Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa and others) are popular prescriptions utilized through medical therapy for PPD. Typically, the medications are used first to stem the ongoing PPD symptoms and are prescribed later to reduce chances for a relapse of PPD. Careful attention of the medication – particularly the size of dosage – needs to be maintained because of the different ways antidepressant medications interact with other medicines already taken by the mother.
Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (deep TMS) – This outpatient procedure, which requires no form of sedation whatsoever, transmits low frequency magnetic pulses through a specialized cap worn by the mother. These pulses generate an electronic field in the underlying brain tissue – about 5-7 cm beneath the skin – and stimulates regions of the brain that contribute to depression. Although deep TMS is somewhat new – it earned FDA approval in 2008 – the treatment is available throughout the US with the recommendation of a doctor.
It’s important to note that mothers can increase the effectiveness of their PPD treatment by combining it with certain lifestyle changes, including exercising for 20 minutes daily, avoiding food high in carbohydrates, getting as much sleep as possible, and leaning on family and friends for company and support.
Can Men be Affected by Postpartum Depression?
From the moment of birth, infants need to bond with their mother. This form of early relationship building is essential to the baby’s health and overall well-being because their mind is shaped by such interaction. Children with mothers who experience prolonged depression have been shown to be moody, have difficulty mastering problem-solving skills and are more likely to experience challenges in the development of language skills and building a strong image of self-worth.
Whether it’s in the form of medication, therapy, deep TMS or another treatment, it is imperative to seek professional medical assistance to put an end to your battle with PPD. Westside Neurotherapeutics offers dTMS treatments Los Angeles. For more information, contact them by phone at 310.946.0008 or visit us online at www.westsideneurotherapeutics.com.