What is Postpartum Depression?
The first few days, weeks, and even months after childbirth can be a joyous time for new mothers and new families; it can also be extremely challenging, exhausting, and even stressful: coping with sleep deprivation and an infant who needs constant attention, learning the ins and outs of parenting, and balancing care for a newborn, care for other family members, and self-care as well. Many new mothers find themselves overwhelmed, depressed, and moody, especially as the body copes with yet more hormonal changes after childbirth. In fact, it’s pretty normal for all new mothers to have the so-called “baby blues”.
For most new mothers, the “baby blues” occur within a week or two of childbirth and then reside as the body’s hormones return to normal and life with a newborn becomes more routine (or as “routine” as it can be with a growing family). Postpartum depression (PPD) is not the same as the “baby blues”, and medical professionals now believe that up to 20% of new mothers may suffer from this serious medical condition (according to the Centers for Disease Control). PPD is a serious form of depression that manifests with symptoms that more closely resemble other mood disorders and will not simply “go away” on its own after a few weeks.
Symptoms of postpartum depression can include:
- Feelings of being overwhelmed or trapped
- Inability to cope with everyday tasks
- Feelings of sadness, irritability, “moodiness”, and anger that persist for most of the day, for many days together
- Worry, anxiety, and panic attacks
- Significant bouts of crying
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Loss of interest in normal activities
- Lack of appetite
- Persistent fatigue and exhaustion
- Feelings of rejection and/or guilt
- Feelings of inadequacy
- Lack of interest in the infant or overwhelming anxiety about the baby’s health
If you or someone you love is suffering from one or more of these symptoms, it’s so important to talk about it! Unfortunately, the symptoms of PTSD themselves augment feelings of shame and inadequacy, making it easy for a new mother to blame herself for “not getting over it” and making it extremely difficult to discuss openly. For many mothers suffering from PPD, professional intervention and medical treatment may be required.
Ketamine Infusion Therapy: An Innovative and Effective Treatment Option for PPD
For new mothers suffering from the “baby blues”, taking the time to focus on your “lifestyle” can help counter the mood swings of the first weeks of motherhood. Focusing on getting plenty of rest and healthy meals, asking for and accepting help from friends and family, taking time during the day for self-care, and getting outside for a brisk walk are all excellent pieces of advice. Unfortunately, for women suffering from postpartum depression, offering “helpful” suggestions about lifestyle changes only places the onus for “curing” their PPD back onto the mother’s shoulders. As with other types of depression, postpartum depression is a serious medical condition that requires medical intervention.
Successful intervention is possible and can be highly effective. The standard treatments for postpartum depression are two-fold. First, talk therapy can be extremely effective, whether through a support group, individual counseling, and/or cognitive behavioral therapy (or some mix of the three). Second, some women may benefit from antidepressants known as SSRIs such as Prozac, Zoloft, or Lexapro to name just a few. Unfortunately, for women suffering from PPD, these types of antidepressants can have several drawbacks.
SSRIs often require several weeks before they “kick in”, which may simply be too long if PPD is interfering with a mother’s ability to care for her family. It can also take time to find the right SSRI; every individual reacts differently to each type of medication, and finding the one that works for you may require some trial and error, which takes even more time. Finally, and perhaps most critically, SSRIs can be transmitted through breastmilk to the infant, so they may not be appropriate for nursing mothers.
An innovative new treatment option in the form of Ketamine Infusion Therapy may offer a better solution for new mothers with PPD. Ketamine therapy involves extremely low dosages of ketamine delivered slowly into the bloodstream through an IV. Ketamine is extremely safe—in fact, it is still used as an anesthetic for children in some surgical situations—and does not pass through breastmilk. Moreover, it has the benefit of being fast-acting; most patients who try Ketamine Infusion Therapy experience a rapid improvement in depressive symptoms quickly.
Postpartum depression is a serious medical issue that, in most cases, requires the intervention of a medical professional. If you suspect that you, or someone you love, is suffering from more than just the “baby blues”, we encourage you to seek help immediately. Effective treatments such as Ketamine Infusion Therapy can offer lasting and effective relief.
For more information about Ketamine Infusion Therapy treatments for depression, bipolar, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), fibromyalgia, pain syndromes and other conditions contact us at Ketamine Clinics of Los Angeles in Southern California (Orange County) by clicking here or calling 310-270-0625.