What is Postpartum Depression?
The postpartum baby blues is an emotional state in which women who have just given birth feel unhappy, worried, tearful, experiencing self-doubt, sleeping difficulties, and crying spells. Some 40-80% of brand-new mothers experience it; the baby blues typically appearing within the first 3 days of the delivery but also going away on their own in about 2 weeks. Now, if these feelings persist longer than 2 straight weeks with a certain intensity, this may indicate postpartum depression.
Ten percent (10%) of brand new mothers have certified postpartum depression but the number could be higher with many not seeking consultation.
Postpartum depression is linked to certain psychological, chemical and social changes associated with childbirth. Although the actual connection between depression and the rapid drop in hormones is not clear yet. Postpartum depression is serious, hindering the mother’s ability to look after her baby and perform daily life activities. In rare cases, an extreme form of postpartum depression — postpartum psychosis — may also develop leading to life-threatening behaviors requiring immediate treatment.
Postpartum depression exhibits itself with:
- Frequent mood swings
- Sleeping disturbances
- Excessive fatigue
- Feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness
- Thoughts of harming the baby
- Decreased libido
- Loss of appetite
- Intense irritability and anger
- Somatic complaints such as body aches
- Difficulty bonding with the baby, family members, and friends
- Loss of interest in daily activities
- Difficulty in thinking clearly, making decisions, and in concentrating
- Thoughts of death or suicide
It is important to remember that postpartum depression is not a character weakness or flaw but a complication of childbirth that can happen to any woman. With prompt and proper treatment, postpartum depression can be managed successfully and the bond between mother and baby can be restored.
Postpartum depression is usually treated the same as clinical depression with the help of psychotherapies (also called talk therapies) such as interpersonal therapy (IPT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Medications including anti-anxiety and antidepressant drugs are also given. Transcranial magnetic stimulation and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) are used in cases that are resistant to the above two methods.
With an over 70 percent success rate, providing rapid relief (in minutes to hours as opposed to weeks) from depressive symptoms, Ketamine therapy has become a judicious choice by doctors and their patients and has proven a safe and effective alternative to treating postpartum depression and other mental health disorders.
In particular, Ketamine provides a safe alternative as it does not enter the breast milk unlike Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). Ketamine is also free of the lingering side-effects caused by the conventional antidepressants.
If you or a loved one are still suffering from Post Partum Depression after trying traditional methods of treatment, Ketamine can be a compelling option.
Get in touch for a comprehensive evaluation to see if Ketamine treatments are right for you.
Dr. Mendiola is Ventura's trusted hometown doctor, caring for its residents and neighboring counties’ since 2000.
He completed his psychiatry residency at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio, his advanced TMS Fellowship at Duke University Medical Center, and is dual-certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and the National Board of Medical Examiners.