Postnatal Depression Treatment Options

Having a very good knowledge of postnatal depression treatment methods is very important. This is because most affected women do not get adequate and timely attention and care, leading to many bad consequences. However, if you know about some treatment techniques, you can help someone, or many people, overcome the problem.

What is postnatal depression?

Postnatal depression, or postpartum depression, is a mental health disorder in which a woman presents signs and symptoms of depression just after childbirth. Interestingly, this disorder does not affect women only, as there have been reported cases – though very few – of men affected by this disorder.
In most cases, postnatal depression begins in the first few weeks to months after childbirth. More specifically, it usually begins around 2 weeks after childbirth and may last for as long as a year.
The best way to ensure effective postnatal depression treatment is to diagnose it perfectly at first. This is done with the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression scale. A new mother is very likely to develop postnatal depression symptoms if she scores anything above 13. This scale is very good for predicting, and therefore arresting, postpartum depression even before it manifests.

Postnatal Depression Symptoms

There are many symptoms and signs of postnatal depression, all of which are very similar to those of other depression forms. These have been highlighted below:

  • Fatigue
  • Lack of energy
  • Social withdrawal
  • Feeling incompetent to cater for new baby
  • Pessimistic thoughts about self and baby
  • Impairment of speech and writing
  • Loss of memory
  • Loss of concentration
  • Irritability
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Getting easily angered and frustrated
  • Baseless feelings of guilt
  • Persistent sadness
  • Low self esteem
  • Sleep disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Weight loss or gain (depending on eating disorder)

What risk factors predispose women to postpartum depression?

Although the causes of postpartum depression are not clearly known, a number of risk factors have been implicated as the “fore-runners” of this disorder. These risk factors are listed below:

  • Smoking
  • Alcohol consumption
  • A familial history of depression
  • Resorting to formula-feeding instead of breast-feeding
  • Prenatal anxiety
  • Low social support
  • Infant temperament problems
  • Single marital status
  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Unplanned or unwanted pregnancy
  • Poor marital relationship
  • Stress

As stated earlier, the causes of postpartum depression are not well understood. However, some suspected causative factors have been highlighted. These include deficiency of vitamins and lifestyle changes during pregnancy.

Postpartum depression treatment

There are many postpartum depression treatment techniques available. They include medical evaluation, which is aimed at ruling out physiological causes, and cognitive behavioral therapy, which is a form of psychotherapy. Joining online depression forums and support groups will also help, just like taking medications as prescribed by a doctor.

However, taking healthy diets, and sleeping healthily and consistently, remains the best way to cure and prevent postpartum depression. Increasing the intake of proteins, vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids will help affected mother overcome postpartum depression quickly and permanently.