Medication Management for Postpartum Depression
shift in mood or feelings of sadness are common and expected after having a baby. Hormone levels rapidly change postpartum, so many new mothers experience the “baby blues” in the first couple weeks after childbirth. If you continue to struggle with depressive symptoms, though, there may be something more serious at play. Postpartum depression can destroy your mental health and prevent you from bonding with your baby.
Many new mothers are nervous to reach out for mental health support because they’re scared they’ll be seen as a bad parent. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, though. The onset of depression is out of your control, but you’re showing your love and commitment to yourself and your family by getting help.
Postpartum depression is treatable with both medication and therapy. The Beverly Hills Therapy Group offers medication management services for new parents with postpartum depression. We understand how frightening this experience can be, but we’re here to help.
Signs and Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
Recognizing that you’re struggling with postpartum depression is the first step toward getting the support you need. Because your life has shifted so dramatically and suddenly, it might be easy to dismiss your symptoms. You may tell yourself that you’re just tired or overwhelmed. However, postpartum depression causes incredibly painful, deeply rooted, and persistent symptoms. No one deserves to live with those feelings, especially not a new parent who’s trying to bond with their baby.
Here are the most common signs and symptoms of postpartum depression to look out for:
- Intense feelings of sadness, guilt, or emptiness
- Severe mood swings
- Lack of motivation to care for yourself or your baby
- Isolating yourself from family or friends
- Loss of interest in your favorite things
- Difficulty making decisions
- Loss of appetite
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
Common Medications for Postpartum Depression
Medication management is a common and effective treatment for postpartum depression. There are a variety of highly researched medications that treat all forms of depression, and postpartum depression is no exception.
It’s always important to work closely with a psychiatrist when taking antidepressants or other medications. Your psychiatrist will make a recommendation based on your health history and will monitor your symptoms and side effects to make sure you stay healthy.
The following are the most commonly prescribed medications for postpartum depression:
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
SSRIs are usually the first medication option for people with depression. They prevent your brain cells from reabsorbing serotonin, a neurotransmitter that boosts your mood and regulates your emotions. This results in elevated levels of serotonin in your brain. Some of the most commonly prescribed SSRIs for mothers with postpartum depression include Zoloft, Prozac, and Paxil.
Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
SNRIs are very similar to SSRIs, but they also elevate the levels of norepinephrine in your brain. Many people report more side effects with SNRIs than with SSRIs. However, they can be a good option if SSRIs are ineffective for you. Some of the side effects include dry mouth, nausea, and sleeping issues.
Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
TCAs have a higher risk of side effects than SSRIs and SNRIs, so they’re not usually the first choice of treatment for people with postpartum depression. Your psychiatrist might recommend them if you’ve had adverse reactions to other antidepressants in the past. The most common tricyclic for treating postpartum depression is nortriptyline.
Zulresso was the first drug to be approved by the FDA specifically for treating postpartum depression. Rapidly dropping hormone levels after childbirth may be a cause of postpartum depression, and Zulresso slows down this drop. The medication is given intravenously, so you have to stay in a healthcare facility for a couple days while you receive the infusion.
Are Antidepressants Safe Postpartum?
It’s completely normal to be worried about taking antidepressants after giving birth. Your body has already been through so many dramatic changes, so introducing a new medication can be stressful. Many women are also worried that psychiatric medications could have an impact on their baby if they’re breastfeeding.
You should discuss any and all concerns with your medication management psychiatrist. It’s vital that you feel safe and comfortable with your treatment and that you have all the information you need. Antidepressants are generally considered safe for new mothers and breastfeeding mothers. The risk of complications is very low, and there is no research that directly links antidepressants to adverse effects in babies.
Medication and Therapy for Postpartum Depression
The combination of medication and psychotherapy is powerful when treating any form of depression. Medication helps to get your most severe symptoms under control within a matter of weeks. Therapy for postpartum depression is your opportunity to explore your thoughts and feelings, increase your self-awareness, and develop positive coping skills so that you achieve long-term emotional wellness.
Some new moms decide to use medication as their first line of defense against postpartum depression. Others decide that therapy is a better option. In many cases, postpartum patients use a combination of treatments. You can consult with your doctor, psychiatrist, or therapist about what treatments are best for you.
Medication Management in Beverly Hills, Ca
The Beverly Hills Therapy Group provides medication management and therapy services for individuals with postpartum depression. We understand how painful and debilitating mental health issues can be for new parents, and we’re here to support you.
When you attend your first medication appointment, your psychiatrist will start with a thorough review of your health and symptoms. If you have a history with any psychiatric medications, they’ll take this information into consideration when making a recommendation. Being fully informed about your prescriptions is vital, so you should bring up any questions or concerns you have about the medications.
Antidepressants can cause side effects, so regular follow ups are an important part of the medication management process. Your psychiatrist appointments are your opportunity to discuss any issues or concerns you have with the medication. Finding the right treatment regimen takes time, so you should continue to communicate with your psychiatrist so that they can adjust your prescriptions as needed.
Medication can be a powerful tool when battling postpartum depression. If you’re struggling with your mental health after having a baby, you can contact The Beverly Hills Therapy Group to schedule an appointment with a medication management psychiatrist.
Ron N. Gad, PhDFounder
Ron N. Gad, PhD is the founder of Beverly Hills Therapy Group in California. Dr. Gad holds a PhD in clinical psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Along with his staff of licensed therapist, Beverly Hills Therapy Group provides mental health services for many disorders including anxiety, trauma, depression, and several others.