Best Way to Deal with Postpartum Depression

If any of the symptoms of the “blues” lasts longer than two weeks, you may be suffering from postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is a mental health condition that lasts longer than the “blues” and is more disabling to the mother. It is more likely to occur if you have a history of depression, have had postpartum depres-sion after an earlier pregnancy, or have recently experienced an extraordinary life event such as the loss of a job, home, or loved one. It can also occur for no apparent reason. The symptoms of postpartum depression include:

  •  Feeling sad, unworthy, guilty, or miserable.
  •  Crying a lot or feeling very angry.
  •  Feeling alone, excessively worried, scared, anxious, or panicky that you’re going to do something wrong or that something bad is going to happen.
Postpartum Depression Best Way to Deal with Postpartum Depression
  •  Feeling so tired that you have no energy to take care of your baby or yourself.
  •  Having trouble enjoying anything or focusing on anything. You feel nothing really matters. You just want to be left alone.
  •  Being afraid of hurting your baby or yourself.
  •  Having problems sleeping or a poor appetite, or both.

In fact, postpartum depression may require medication, mental health therapy, or both. The good news is that it is treatable and treatment has good success rates. If you have any of the symptoms just listed, talk to your OB provider immediately. Ask for a referral to a mental health care provider who specializes in postpartum depression. You may be referred to a psychiatrist who can prescribe antidepressants, if these are warranted. Newer kinds of antidepressants are harmless to a breast-fed baby. Remember: this is an illness, not something you caused. You shouldn’t feel guilty or ashamed. Get professional help. Your family needs you to get better.

Health Insurance Coverage

Although sensational cases related to postpartum depression have raised public awareness on this topic, many insurance policies do not recognize it as a psychiatric illness and therefore limit treatment coverage. Of course, if you feel you have postpartum depression, do not hesitate to get help. Let your doctor know your concerns about being able to pay for therapy. She or he may be able to write you a referral that will mean psychiatric treatment is covered by your insurance. Many communities have support groups for women with postpartum depression.

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