Ways to Manage Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is very common: it’s thought to affect one in seven new moms and is a serious mood disorder that can have a huge impact on quality of life.

Fortunately, postpartum depression (PPD) is very treatable and getting the help and support you need as soon as possible if you (or those around you) notice symptoms is vital.

Treatment can both manage the condition and – often – result in a complete overcoming of the disorder.

Keep reading for the symptoms to look out for and what to do if you think you (or a loved one) might be suffering from PPD.

What are the Symptoms of PPD?

While the symptoms, and their severity, can differ, in general, there are a few clear red flags to watch out for.

Excessive crying for no reason, mood changes, and increased irritability are all ways that PPD can present; feelings of intense anxiety, guilt, shame, and hopelessness are common symptoms, too.

Frequent sadness and despair are often experienced by those suffering from PPD.

PPD can also manifest as an ability to focus or concentrate, a tendency to become easily distracted, and increased forgetfulness.

Indecisiveness and a feeling of being always to blame or at fault are common, too.

A withdrawal from friends, loved ones, and family is a classic sign of PPD, as is a lack of interest in hobbies, exercises, or activities that were previously enjoyed.

You may also feel little interest in bonding with your baby or that you don’t want to be left alone with her.

The emotional and mental stress of PPD means that it’s common for physical symptoms to appear, too.

Headaches, muscle aches, tummy problems, a change in appetite, chronic fatigue, and finding it very difficult to sleep or oversleeping can show up.

What To Do If You Think You Have PPD

Firstly, it’s vital to make an appointment with your doctor or another medical professional to access the support and treatment you need.

The symptoms of PPD can creep up over time, but taking steps to get back on the right track as early as possible is important.

The type of treatment will depend on the severity of the condition, the background and medical history of the mother, and her unique situation.

In most cases, treatment will consist of a course of talking therapy alongside medication to manage the symptoms of the condition.

If getting out of the house for counselling would be difficult for you, then there are online courses of therapy available; have a look here for information on online therapy that takes insurance that can support you and help you to get back on your feet.

In the course of therapy, mental health professionals will typically work with the mother to help her to explore, understand, and cope with her feelings, while also providing strategies to manage the condition. 

Self Care

There are some important habits regarding self-care that can also help to alleviate and manage the symptoms of PPD.

Simple things such as getting enough rest, staying hydrated, and continuing to fit exercise into our routines can seem impossible while caring for a baby – but all of these things can help to promote a better mood, lift the spirits, and keep us well in body and mind.

Avoiding alcohol is a good idea, as is being extra mindful about eating a healthy, nutritious diet.

Carving out some time daily for small self-care rituals can make a huge difference to wellness, whether this is finding ten minutes to meditate in the morning or reading a couple of pages of a book before bed.

Postpartum Psychosis

This condition tends to come on quickly after the birth of a baby and is a serious, severe mental disorder.

It can manifest suddenly even in new mums who have no experience of former mental health difficulties and needs to be treated as a medical emergency.

Symptoms can include hallucinations, delusions, mania, feeling ‘high,’ or suspicious and fearful.

An extremely low mood may also be present, as well as restlessness and confusion.

If you suspect you or a loved one is suffering from postpartum psychosis, then seek urgent medical attention to prevent the risk of harm to the baby or yourself.

Ideally, the mother and baby will be transferred to a specialist unit within the mother and baby unit to receive treatment.

Hospitalization may be required for a few days or weeks, depending on the individual case. 

Prognosis and Recovery

Making a full recovery from PPD is not only possible but, with the right treatment plan and support in place, is very probable.

As part of the recovery process and to help alleviate the symptoms of the condition, it’s important to draw on the support of family and friends and to resist any urge you may feel to isolate yourself.

It’s vital, too, to take the pressure off of yourself by not comparing yourself to others or attempting to achieve ‘perfection’ as a mom.

It’s also key to keep in touch with your medical practitioner and be sure to let them know if you feel that you aren’t recovering as expected or if any aspect of the treatment isn’t working for you so that adjustments can be made to your wellness plan.

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