Postnatal Depression Teatment
The first thing is to recognise you have had a depressive illness. Don’t dismiss it as the ‘baby blues’. Don’t assume it’s normal to feel like this when coping with a baby.
There are lots of reasons why women delay seeking help. You may:
not realise what is wrong
worry about what other people think
feel ashamed to admit that you are not enjoying being a mother.
Some women worry that their baby will be taken away. In fact, you are doing what is best for your baby and for yourself by getting help for your PND. Doctors and health visitors want to get the care you need so you can look after your baby.
People are now more aware of depression in general. This means PND shouldn’t be missed so often.
Doctors, midwives and health visitors usually ask new mothers about their mental health. They may ask you to fill in a questionnaire or ask the following questions:
During the last month, have you been bothered by feeling down, depressed or hopeless?
During the last month, have you been bothered by having little interest in pleasure or in doing things?
Is this something you feel you need or want help with?
It is important to answer these questions honestly so that you can be offered help if you need it. If your answers suggest you might have PND, you should see your GP. Your GP will need to ask more questions to confirm the diagnosis.
Counselling and therapy
Talking treatments, such as counselling and psychotherapy, offer you the opportunity to look at the underlying factors that have contributed to PND, as well as helping you to change the way you feel.
If a friend or someone you know recommends a therapist, this can be a great way to find someone. If you don’t feel that the method of therapy or the therapist isn’t working for you, you can always change and try someone else. Private practitioners will charge a fee for their services so this will probably be another factor in your decision.
Whoever you choose, make sure your therapist is registered with an accredited body, such as the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) or British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC). You could also contact your Community Mental Health Team.
Antidepressants balance the chemicals in your brain. They raise levels of the hormone serotonin to lift your mood, help you sleep and make you feel less irritable.
Between five and seven out of every 10 women who take antidepressants find their PND symptoms ease within a few weeks of starting treatment. The first few tablets will make no difference, but after about two to four weeks of taking them, you should begin to feel better.
Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are considered safe to take if you’re breastfeeding. Nortriptyline or imipramine are the TCAs that are usually recommended. Another type of antidepressant commonly prescribed for PND is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). SSRIs include:
All antidepressants may pass into your breastmilk, but in very small amounts. Sertraline is often recommended over fluoxetine for breastfeeding mums, as smaller amounts of it pass into breastmilk. If your baby seems sleepy or irritable after you’ve taken antidepressants, talk to your GP.
Many mums who take antidepressants do breastfeed because it improves their confidence and strengthens their bond with their baby. Feeling close to your baby can help you tackle PND.
Talk to your doctor to get a clear understanding of the risks and benefits involved in taking antidepressants if you’re breastfeeding, or seek advice from a perinatal psychiatrist.
The most important thing you can do for yourself is believe that you will get better. You must have a great deal of patience and realise that recovery will take time.
Try to remember that the aches and pains which affect so many mothers during postnatal depression are not the signs of a serious or fatal illness. Many mothers think their headaches signify brain tumors or the pain and tightness in their chest is due to a heart condition. These pains are very common symptoms of depression and worrying about them makes the depression worse, so do try to relax and forget about the pain and you will find that as the depression lifts the pains quickly fade away.
Take as much rest as you can. This is very important, as tiredness seems to make depression worse. If you can, try and get a rest on your bed, every day, and sleep if possible. Avoid late nights if you can, and try to get someone else to feed the baby at night. Some doctors believe that rest, peace and quiet, after the birth can help to prevent postnatal depression, so rest must play an important part in your convalescence.
Do not go on a strict diet or go for long periods without food. Hypoglycemia – low blood sugar – can make things worse for a depressed mother. If you need to diet cut down on sweet and starchy foods and eat plenty of fruit or raw vegetables when you are hungry.
Most mothers benefit from taking a multi mineral supplement tablet once a day. Do not force yourself to do things which you do not really want to do or which upset you. Treat yourself with a little kindness, and be occupied doing things which do not cause you anxiety.
The term complementary therapy is generally used to indicate therapies and treatments that differ from conventional western medicine and that may be used to complement and support it.
Certain complementary therapies may enhance your life and help you to maintain wellbeing. In general, mindfulness, hypnotherapy, yoga, exercise, relaxation, massage, mirimiri and aromatherapy have all been shown to have some effect in alleviating mental distress. When considering taking any supplement, herbal or medicinal preparation you should consult your doctor to make sure it is safe and will not harm your health, for example, by interacting with any other medications you are taking.