A mother who is experiencing any of the signs or symptoms of postpartum depression should definitely obtain professional treatment. If left untreated, postpartum depression can go on for a very long time, even up to a year or more. Most of the time, postpartum depression or anxiety will respond to the same types of treatments that are used for regular depression.
Therapy, support groups and medication can be a great help.
Psychotherapy. Known to be extremely effective in treating postpartum depression, psychotherapy can consist of either group or individual therapy. Many mothers do not want to take medication because they are breastfeeding, and psychotherapy is a popular option.
Interpersonal therapy, or IPT, is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on interpersonal relationships and issues. It is thought to be very effective in treating postpartum depression.
Hormone Replacement Therapy. In some cases, hormone replacement therapy using estrogen can be an effective way to treat postpartum depression. Estrogen is used in combination with an antidepressant drug. It is recommended that you discuss hormone replacement therapy with your physician to determine the type of treatment that would be safest and most effective for you.
Antidepressant Medications. Antidepressant medication should be an option whenever a mother has a severe case of postpartum depression and is not able to care for herself or her baby. This type of treatment should be used in combination with therapy and should always be closely monitored by a physician.
Medications can easily be passed onto a nursing infant through breast milk, but research shows that levels of tricyclic antidepressants reaching a baby through breast milk are undetectable or extremely low. Even so, some nursing babies have been reported to have adverse reactions.
Treatment Through Self Help. Relaxation, a healthy diet and sufficient sleep are always excellent. The best way a woman can help herself is by finding people to talk with about her feelings and emotions. Finding people to assist with child care, running errands and doing housework will help a mother get the rest she needs. It has also been shown that keeping a diary or record of your thoughts, emotions and feelings can make you feel better and help track any progress you make.
Postpartum depression can be dealt with in several ways, including changing ones' lifestyle and alternative treatment options. It is important that you learn as much as you can about your depression and determine whether your symptoms might be due to some other medical condition. If that is the case, that condition should be treated first.
You should realize that the more acute and severe your depression is, the more intensive the treatment will be. At first, it might take some time to find the type of treatment that will be best for you. You might need to go through some trial and error to find the best therapist. The key is to be patient and open to change and experimentation. A woman should never solely rely on medication.
Although medication is effective in the treatment of postpartum depression, side effects are possible and in the end, using therapy along with medication offers advantages.
Research has also shown that lifestyle changes such as proper nutrition, regular exercise, social support and plenty of sleep are some of the most effective ways a woman can reduce her stress.