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Post Natal Depression

 

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If you would like to discuss how counselling might help you please contact Andrew

www.andrewcornick.co.uk

Tel:      01793 710252

Mobile: 07732 570346

Please email me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Postnatal Depression

 

About 1 in 10 mothers develop postnatal depression. Support and understanding from family, friends, and sometimes from a professional such as a health visitor can help you to recover. Other treatment options include antidepressant drugs and counselling

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What is meant by postnatal depression?

Having a baby is a very emotional experience. You may feel tearful and your mood may feel low. There are three causes of low mood afterchildbirth:

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'Baby blues'. This is so common that it can be considered normal. Symptoms include being weepy, irritability, anxiety and feeling low. It usually starts around the 3rd day, but usually goes by the 10th day after childbirth. It does not usually need any medical treatment.

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Postnatal depression. This occurs in about 1 in 10 mothers. It usually develops within the first four weeks after childbirth. However, it can start several months or even up to one year following childbirth. Symptoms, including low mood, last for much longer than with baby blues. Treatment is advised.

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Postnatal (puerperal) psychosis. This is an uncommon, but severe, form of depression. It develops in about 1 in 1000 mothers. It is discussed briefly at the end of this article. Sometimes postnatal depression can also affect a father after the birth of their child.

What are the symptoms of postnatal depression?

The symptoms are similar to those that occur with depression at any other time. They usually include one or more of the following. In postnatal depression, symptoms are usually there on most days, for most of the time, for two weeks or more.

Low mood. Tends to be worse first thing in the morning, but not always.

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Not really enjoying anything. Lack of interest in yourself and your baby.

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Lack of motivation to do anything.

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Often feeling tearful.

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Feeling irritable a lot of the time.

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Feelings of guilt, rejection, or inadequacy.

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Poor concentration (like forgetting or losing things) or being unable to make a decision about things.

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Feeling unable to cope with anything.

You may also get thoughts about harming your baby. Around half the women with postnatal depression get these thoughts. If things are very bad you may get ideas of harming or killing yourself. The reality is that only in very rare cases is anyone harmed. If you have such thoughts, you must seek some help. In addition, you may also have: less energy, disturbed sleep, poor appetite, and a reduced sex drive. However, these are common and normal for a while after childbirth, and on their own do not necessarily mean that you are depressed.

Why should you do anything about postnatal depression?

If you do nothing about the depression, or do not even know that you are depressed, you are likely to get better anyway in 3-6 months (like other types of depression). However, about 1 in 4 affected mothers are still depressed on their child's first birthday. There are a number of reasons to get help:

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To help yourself get better quickly. You need not feel likethis. It is not a sign of weakness to admit that you are depressed.

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To help your partner or family. If you are depressed, it can cause problems in your relationships, your job, and life in general.

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To help your child (or children). If you are depressed, your relationship with your baby may not be as good as it could be. You may not give as much attention to your baby as you would like to. As a result, your baby's development may not be as quick as it might be.

There is evidence to suggest that developmental problems that occur in the baby because of a mother's depression may persist in some cases even when the mother has recovered. Sometimes a young child's behaviour can also be affected if their mother had postnatal depression. Many women are able to 'hide' their postnatal depression. They care for their baby perfectly well, and appear 'fine' to those around them. However, they suffer the condition as an internal misery. Do seek help if you are like this.

What causes postnatal depression?

The exact cause is not clear. Common misconceptions are that it is just due to hormone changes after you give birth and that it will go away by itself. Any mother can develop postnatal depression. Some studies suggest that depression after childbirth is no more common than at other times (depression is common). However, it is thought that women are more prone to develop depression just after childbirth. The main cause seems to be stressful events after childbirth such as feelings of isolation, worry, and responsibility about the new baby, etc. In addition, you may be at greater risk of developing postnatal depression if you have/have had:

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Mental health problems in the past (including depression, previous postnatal depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia).

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Previous treatment by a psychiatrist or mental health team.

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Depression during your pregnancy.

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Postnatal depression that runs in your family.

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Marital or relationship problems.

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No close friends or family around you.

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Money troubles.

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Physical health problems following the birth (such as anaemia, incontinence, etc).

However, in many cases, there is no apparent cause.

What are the treatments for postnatal depression?

The type of treatment that is best for you can depend on various things including:

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How severe your depression is and what symptoms you have.

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The impact of your symptoms on your ability to function (to look after yourself and your baby).

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Whether you have had depression or other mental health problems in the past.

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Your current situation.

Together you and your doctor should be able to decide which is the right treatment for you. The following are some of the treatments available.

More than one treatment may be suggested in some cases.

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Support and advice. Understanding and support from family and friends can help you to recover. It is often best to talk to close friends and family to explain how you feel rather than bottling up your feelings. You may also benefit from some help from family and friends in caring for your baby. This may give you some time off to rest and/or to do some things for yourself.

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Support and help from a health visitor can also help. Do tell your health visitor if you feel depressed as they may be able to talk things through with you.

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Independent advice about any social problems may be available and of help (money issues, child care, loneliness, relationships, etc.). Ask your health visitor about what is available in your area. Also, ask about which support or self-help groups are available. You may be surprised at how many women feel the same way as you. Self-help groups are good at providing encouragement and support, as well as giving advice on how best to cope.

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Antidepressants

Psychological treatments

Another treatment option is to be referred to a psychologist or other professional for a psychological treatment. There are various types, but their availability on the NHS can vary in different parts of the country. Psychological treatments include the following:

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Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT). This is a combination of cognitive therapy and behaviour therapy. Briefly, cognitive therapy is based on the idea that certain ways of thinking can trigger, or 'fuel', certain mental health problems such as depression. The therapist helps you to understand your thought patterns. In particular, to identify any harmful, unhelpful, and 'false' ideas or thoughts which you have that can make you depressed. The aim is then to change your ways of thinking to avoid these ideas. Also, to help your thought patterns to be more realistic and helpful. Therapy is usually done in weekly sessions over several months. You are likely to be given 'homework' between sessions.

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Behaviour therapy aims to change any behaviours which are harmful or not helpful. In short, CBT helps people to achieve changes in the way that they think, feel and behave. (See separate leaflet called 'Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)' for more details.)

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Interpersonal therapy. This type of psychological therapy can help you to identify any problems in your relationships with family, friends, partners, and other people, and see how these may relate to your depression and other problems.

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Other types of therapy including problem-solving therapy and psychodynamic psychotherapy may also be used to treat postnatal depression.

 

Some dos and don'ts about depression

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Don't bottle things up and 'go it alone'. Try and tell people who are close to you how you feel. It is not weak to cry or admit that you are struggling.

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Don't despair. Most people with depression recover. It is important to remember this.

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Do try and distract yourself by doing other things. Try doing things that do not need much concentration but can be distracting such as watching TV. Radio or TV is useful late at night if sleeping is a problem.

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Do eat regularly, even if you do not feel like eating.

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Don't drink too much alcohol. Drinking alcohol is tempting to some people with depression as the immediate effect may seem to relieve the symptoms. However, drinking heavily is likely to make your situation worse in the long run.

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Don't make any major decisions whilst you are depressed. If possible, delay any major decisions about relationships, jobs, or money until you are well again.

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Do tell your doctor if you feel that you are getting worse, particularly if suicidal thoughts are troubling you.

If you would like to discuss any of the mental health issues raised on this page or find out how counselling might help please contact me.

Websites

The Association for Post Natal Illness

The Association provides a telephone helpline, information leaflets for sufferers and healthcare professionals as well as a network of volunteers (telephone and postal), who have themselves experienced postnatal illness.

http://apni.org/

 

Post Natal Illness Organisation

Organisation providing information and support for people  have experienced Post Natal illness but  found that the term 'depression' did not reflect how it felt for them! Covers the whole spectrum of emotional and mental illness women can suffer after a birth.

http://www.pni.org.uk/


Cry-Sis

From its modest beginnings, Cry-sis has developed to become a well-respected and national charity. The stated aims remain 'to be efficient and effective in providing self-help and support to families with excessively crying, sleepless and demanding babies'.

http://www.cry-sis.org.uk/

 

Birth Trauma Association

The Birth Trauma Association (BTA) supports all women who have had a traumatic birth experience. It is estimated that, in the UK alone, this may result in 10,000 women a year developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

http://www.birthtraumaassociation.org.uk/

 

Home Start

Tel: 0800 068 6368. Support and practical help for families with at least one child under-5. Help offered to parents finding it hard yo cope for many reasons. These include PND or other mental illness, isolation, bereavement, illness of parent or child.

http://www.home-start.org.uk/

 

Twins and Multiple Births Association (TAMBA)

The Twins and Multiple Births Association (Tamba) is a charity set up by parents of twins, triplets and higher multiples and interested professionals. We directly help thousands of parents and professionals meet the unique challenges that multiple birth families face

http://www.tamba.org.uk/

 

MIND

Mind helps people take control of their mental health. We do this by providing high-quality information and advice, and campaigning to promote and protect good mental health for everyone. How can we help you

http://www.mind.org.uk/help/diagnoses_and_conditions/post-natal_depression

 

Leaflets

In this section you will find a selection of leaflets you can download or print.

Leaflet from Royal College of Psychiatrists

Leaflet from Counselling Directory

Self help leaflet from NHS Northumberland

Local Resources in Swindon

Swindon Samaritans

Swindon and District Samaritans has been offering emotional support to those in crisis for more than 40 years. You can call or email 24hrs a day.

http://www.samaritans.org/swindon/

 

Swindon MIND

Local branch of the national charity providing support, resources and drop-in sessions.

http://www.swindonmind.org/

 

 

PND support group - Swindon

A free confidential support group run by experienced local counsellors and health visitors. It is for any mum with babies and young children, in Swindon and its surrounding areas, who perhaps feel tearful, that they are not coping very well, have lost some of their confidence or who are struggling with difficult feelings. A crèche is provided on site with caring and experienced staff who understand how hard it can be to leave your baby

http://www.attt.co.uk/PostNatalGroup.html

 

 

This information was put together by Swindon Counsellor and Psychotherapist Andrew Cornick. If you would like to find out how counselling might help you please contact me at any time.

www.andrewcornick.co.uk

Tel:      01793 710252

Mobile: 07732 570346

Please email me

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