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Strategies to assist with Treating Postnatal Depression

8 Strategies for Treating Post-Natal Depression

Venturing into Motherhood can be a daunting experience full of mixed emotions. Adding Post-Natal Depression to the list of challenges to deal with can prove overwhelming, but the good news is help is available to all mothers experiencing these symptoms. PND is described as depression that has occurred within 3 months and in some cases up to 6 months following the birth of your child. The symptoms that are experienced with post-natal depression are similar to those experienced in Depression and can include:

  • Feeling helpless, guilty
  • Changes in sleep and eating habits
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Depressed mood
  • Suicidal thoughts and/or plans/action
  • Avoiding leaving the house
  • Decreased libido
  • Anxiety
  • Fear for the baby/yourself

Treatment That Works?

Helpful Strategies:

  • It is important to explore and address possible contributing factors.
  • Increasing social support from family and friends can be very beneficial in the treatment process to decrease the feeling of being isolated and alone.
  • It is also important for the Mother to understand that having PND does not mean they are a ‘bad’ parent.
  • In some situations Couples Therapy may be beneficial if: the partner is unsure how to provide support to the mother; the partner is not providing the mother with adequate support; and to provide education regarding PND.
  • Assisting the mother in building her self-confidence, in her judgment and capability as a parent is also important. Learning to manage the intrusive negative thoughts and feelings associated with PND can be done with the help of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (Please see my page on ACT).
  • With all the latest Social Media outlets, it is helpful to learn how to live in line with your own values rather than making comparisons to often misleading material on apps such as Facebook, Instagram etc. Many women wind up feeling like they are failing at motherhood.
  • Identifying and understanding whether a healthy attachment between mother and baby has been established is helpful as resolving any attachment issues can help alleviate symptoms.
  • It’s time to make yourself part of the priority list and to nurture yourself so you can be around for as long as possible and live the meaningful life that you want for yourself and your family.

If you feel as though you are suffering from Post-Natal Depression please book an appointment with me. PND is not a reflection of personal shortcomings and can be treated with psychological assistance so you can move forward in life and be the mother you aim to be. It is often difficult for women to psychologically digest having been given a ‘label’ like PND. In my approach the term ‘PND’ is used for no other reason than to guide the therapeutic process.

Reference: Treatment Protocol Project (2004). Management of Mental Disorders (4th Edition). Sydney. World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Evidence in Mental Health Policy.

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