Postpartum depression is complex, oftentimes confusing, and always emotionally-charged. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that 11-20% of women who give birth– about 600,000 women every year – will experience signs of postpartum depression. Only 15% of the afflicted women, however, will seek professional counseling or medical attention. This may be because admitting to being depressed after giving birth can feel shameful. It may also be because postpartum depression generally doesn’t persist for more than six months, making it difficult to treat with psychotherapy, antidepressants, or other depression treatments that aren’t immediately effective.
The dangers of neglecting to treat postpartum depression are severe, especially for the infant. Maternal depression during infancy makes a bigger impact on childhood development than maternal depression during later stages of a child’s life.
SIGNS OF POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION
Immediately after giving birth, women may experience what is called ‘baby blues.’ These symptoms typically last a few days to a week after the birth of a child, and include mood swings, anxiety, sadness and crying, irritability, feeling overwhelmed, inability to concentrate, lack of appetite and sleeping too little. However, postpartum depression manifests with more intense symptoms that last longer – up to six months post-birth.
Postpartum depression symptoms include:
- Depression, sadness, excessive crying, fatigue & severe mood swings
- Inability to bond with your child
- Isolating & withdrawing from activities you would normally enjoy
- Appetite issues; eating too little or too much
- Sleep issues; sleeping too little or too much
- Irritability and irrational anger
- Feelings of worthlessness, shame or guilt, or fear that you’re a bad mother
- Inability to think clearly and make decisions
- Severe anxiety and panic attacks
- Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, or recurring thoughts of death and suicide
Eventually, these symptoms will prevent a new mother from caring for herself or her child. Because postpartum depression effects both mother and child, it is important to seek help if you are experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms. Even if you suspect that it’s just baby blues, call your mental healthcare provider or primary care physician immediately.
HOW TO TREAT POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION
Most commonly, postpartum depression is treated either with psychotherapy or antidepressants. Psychotherapy can be helpful in finding positive ways to cope with your depression. Antidepressants may also be prescribed, though the symptoms of postpartum depression often subside before the antidepressants begin working. There is also the risk that your depression medication will enter your breast milk, though there are some antidepressants that pose little risk to breastfeeding infants.
It is important to note that, even if you begin to feel better after psychotherapy or antidepressants, you should continue your treatment. If you stop your treatment too early, you may be more prone to a relapse.
KETAMINE FOR POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION
At Vitalitas Denver, we have seen ketamine infusions improve the symptoms of severe depression in a matter of hours. Up to 70% of patients experience marked improvement in their depressive symptoms after just a few ketamine infusions.
As a treatment for postpartum depression, ketamine infusions make a lot of sense. Ketamine acts quickly to improve the symptoms of depression, which is especially important for people suffering from postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is a short-term mental health condition, usually lasting no more than six months. Likewise, ketamine is a short-term depression treatment – but one that has the potential to improve depressive symptoms almost immediately, providing both mother and child with the benefits of good maternal mental health.
If you or someone you love is suffering from postpartum depression, severe depression, anxiety, or PTSD, ketamine infusions may be life-changing. Contact us to learn more about ketamine and to find out of you’re a good candidate for infusions.