Postpartum depression is a condition that may affect a mother who has just given birth. Some people believe that emotional issues after birth are harmless and can just go away on their own. With postpartum depression, however, the problem takes firm root and needs to be addressed properly. Postpartum depression can go away in time, but it is an issue that one cannot treat lightly.
That in no way means that postpartum depression is unnatural. This condition happens to a lot of mothers, sometimes even fathers. As rare or as common as it may be, this condition cannot be ignored. That is because postpartum depression can severely affect an individual’s personal, professional, and familial relationships. One of the best ways of dealing with the problem is through talk therapy and counseling.
The Causes and Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression (also called postpartum disorder) usually occurs not long after a baby is born. Scientists believe that this is due to a mix of emotions related to the hormones involved in pregnancy. A more common condition that women face after birth is known as the baby blues. It is different from postpartum depression and has the following characteristics:
- Sadness, irritability, crying, and anxiety
- Sudden mood swings
- Trouble concentrating and sleeping
- Problems with appetite
Postpartum depression, on the other hand, is more long term and has more intense symptoms. Some of these symptoms are the following:
- Mood problems: Common mood problems include depression, irritability, anger, anxiety, and others. Mood swings also become more common.
- Problems with sleep: This can be either by sleeping too much or not getting enough sleep.
- Changes in concentration: Those with postpartum depression show reduced interest in activities. Another common symptom is difficulty in concentrating.
- Difficulties in bonding with the newborn: A mother with postpartum depression may feel detached from the baby.
- Panic or anxiety attacks: These bouts are also common symptoms and are related to mood issues suffered by patients.
- Inadequacy: Many women report feelings inadequacy in their abilities as mothers. A lack of self-confidence is also commonly shown.
- A desire to harm: Some show a desire for self-harm or a desire to harm the newborn.
- Many other symptoms
In some cases, postpartum depression can also occur to new fathers. If left unaddressed, this can have adverse effects on both sides of the relationship and may even affect the baby.
The Effects and Consequences of Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression can have many adverse effects on the patient and other people around the patient. Some of the effects and consequences of postpartum depression are the following:
- Consequences of mood disorders: Mood disorders can impact many aspects of your life. These mood changes caused by postpartum depression are fully capable of affecting these aspects.
- Difficulty functioning: Postpartum depression can impede you from functioning properly. It can affect both your professional and personal life.
- Trouble with caring for the baby: The feelings of inadequacy, coupled with the physical and psychological effects of postpartum depression, has many effects. Most notably, these get in the way of properly caring for the baby.
- Relationship problems: The effects of mood can change the way you treat the people around you. It can cause problems with personal relationships.
- Physical problems: Emotional problems and mood disorders are closely associated with physical problems. The most notable effects include stress, cardiovascular problems, trouble sleeping, and many more. These physical problems can further escalate into more serious consequences.
To prevent the many negative consequences, postpartum depression must be dealt with as soon as it is diagnosed. Counseling is an excellent way of doing so.
Counseling is a Great Help for Postpartum Depression
There are many treatment types available for postpartum depression. One of the most notable methods involves psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is the use of psychological techniques for addressing problems. The field of psychotherapy is vast, and so are the methods involved. Some of the ones used for postpartum depression are the following:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: CBT focuses on methods that help identify negative thoughts to modify them. It is a good way of fixing negative behavior for the betterment of the patient.
- Interpersonal Therapy: IPT seeks to relieve the symptoms of postpartum depression. This focuses on aspects like proper communication, building confidence and a strong support group.
- Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: This form of psychotherapy involves identifying past experiences that lead to present behavior and thoughts. Patients are disentangled from issues from their past that may be weighing them down.
- Group Therapy: Group therapy seeks to resolve issues within a group of individuals that suffer the same problem. In fact, postpartum depression support groups have been proven to be effective in resolving issues.
- Couples Therapy: Those that are in a romantic or married relationship can find solutions in couple’s therapy. It involves the partner in seeking relief for the patient.
As can be seen above, there are many types of psychotherapy available for women with postpartum depression. These involve different methods, but all of them have the same goal.
How Counseling Can Help You
There are many ways that counseling can help a patient cope with the symptoms of postpartum depression. Dealing with these is necessary for helping a mother get back to her best self. Some of the ways by which counseling can help are the following:
Counseling can help the patient deal with the symptoms of postpartum depression
The symptoms of postpartum depression are both physical and psychological. In many cases, these symptoms can hinder a person from functioning properly. Counseling is a very effective way of mitigating these symptoms. Dealing with symptoms can help a mother cope with the stresses brought about by postpartum depression and motherhood. This is extremely important, as motherhood in itself is a difficult job without postpartum depression complicating things.
Counseling can help a person identify the factors that contribute to the problem
Postpartum depression is not a problem that just pops up out of nowhere. Several factors may contribute to it, and these factors may be physical and psychological. Counseling can help a mother identify what these factors are. Knowing what these contributors are is the first step to dealing with the problem.
It can help the patient identify and modify harmful behavior
Postpartum depression can lead a person into doing harmful actions and thinking harmful thoughts. These harmful thoughts and actions can have a negative effect on the patient and people around her. Counseling is the best way of identifying what these thoughts and actions are. Once these have been identified, the therapist can help modify these behaviors into something neutral or positive. This is to ensure that any further damage caused by postpartum depression is either minimized or avoided entirely.
It can help a person identify the right steps for improvement
Talk therapy and counseling involve a lot of introspection. The answers and solutions must come from the realizations of the patient. In many cases, this is a difficult task to undergo. It is the job of the therapist to help the patient arrive at the right steps for improvement. Counseling can help a patient with the right mindset that arrives at a positive solution to postpartum depression.
Counseling can help the patient with self-care
Most of the symptoms of postpartum depression can cause physical and emotional damage. It is necessary for patients to be able to take care of themselves in spite of all the symptoms. Counseling can help teach the patient self-care so as not to aggravate the symptoms any further. Examples of steps for self-care include proper rest, exercise, a proper diet, the right mindset, and many more.
It gives the patient an outlet for negativity
Some people are just not comfortable speaking their minds to their loved ones. Others are hesitant to be seen as burdens. No matter what a patient’s reasons may be, counseling gives the patient an outlet for negativity. Therapists can help patients express negative thoughts and emotions and use these for self-betterment. The negative thoughts caused by postpartum depression are no exception to this.
It provides an avenue for mending any damage done by postpartum depression
In many cases, postpartum depression can go undiagnosed for long periods. It can cause damage to personal relationships. Counseling can help the patient arrive at solutions and methods for repairing any damage done. Many personal relationships have been saved by postpartum depression counseling as a result.
Get Back to Your Best Self through Counseling in Ottawa
If you or someone you know is suffering from postpartum depression, counseling is a great place to turn to for help. Consulting with a therapist can help you get back to your best self. It will be beneficial for you and your family in the long run.
If you are looking for therapists who can help you with postpartum depression and/or other mental & emotional health matters, look no further than Capital Choice Counseling. We have licensed and experienced professionals on our staff, and we have been serving the Ottawa area since 2006. We have a broad range of services that you can make use of. Contact us here or give us a call at 613-425-4257.