How to cope with postpartum anxiety?
Most people have heard of PPD or postpartum depression, but few have heard of postpartum anxiety. This little-known diagnosis deserves more attention.
Every mother experiences some anxiety, especially if it is their first baby. However, it can escalate out of control. You may not even be able to function — unfortunately, only 20% of doctors screen for this kind of anxiety.
One of the first things that you notice when you find out that you are pregnant is that you have a change in your hormones along with the many changes that happen in the body. The Postpartum period is the period following the birth of your baby; it is during this period that some women can experience the postpartum depression, or postpartum anxiety or better known as the baby blues.
These disorders can happen at any time after the birth of your baby and can happen in conjunction with one another. This is all down to the hormone changes that are happening inside your body. People that are more susceptible to these sort of attacks are women who have suffered from depression in the past. If you have a history of anxiety, then the chances are that you will develop some postpartum anxiety.
Postpartum anxiety where the woman can experience all sort of feeling, but it mainly manifests itself as panic attacks, anxiety and may even go as far as agoraphobia, this is the fear of wide open spaces or even as far as public places. Having this level of fear can be extremely debilitating as the sufferer tends to stay at home and lock themselves away from the outside world and can become a recluse. These symptoms can strike at any time and so the person is constantly fearful that the attacks will start.
The Symptoms of postpartum anxiety
It is important to look for symptoms of postpartum anxiety to see if the new mother needs help because it is a serious disease that can affect the health of the new mother and baby.
The main symptoms all seem very similar to the normal symptoms of depression. They will start shortly after the birth of the baby and can often be seen as extreme tiredness or a problem with the concentration. Usually, the new mom will have trouble sleeping, and it will affect the way that she is during the day. Because of the sleep deprivation, walking and talking may be a little difficult, and the new mom may be more confused than usual.
Postpartum anxiety can be considered as a syndrome that attacks some women at the time she gave birth.
This includes experiencing a depressed mood, feelings of sadness, hopelessness, uselessness, failure, shame, guilt, fear, anger and panic. Feelings of fatigue and exhaustion and loss of sexual desire.
The mother may have trouble sleeping, such as difficulty falling asleep, waking up early in the morning, always tired and exhausted. It can also have symptoms of stress such as panic attacks, tightness in the chest and stomach.
Disruption of thoughts
Poor concentration, loss of ability to plan and complete tasks, bad memory, confused thoughts, intrusive thoughts (e.g. thoughts about severe illness or death of yourself, baby or partner)
How long does postpartum anxiety last?
Many women that suffer from Postpartum Anxiety and Depression want to know how long it will last. In most cases, Postpartum Anxiety and Depression will arise within the first month after having a baby. Although there are women that start suffering from it even before their baby is born or at any time within the first years after giving birth.
How long does the postpartum anxiety last can depend on many different variables, such as the severity of your postpartum anxiety, your history of anxiety, how long you waited to reach out for help, how much support and help you are receiving from your family/partner, etc.
Therefore, there are women that experience postpartum anxiety for a few days or weeks and others may experience postpartum anxiety symptoms even for a few years.
Related: HOW TO DEAL WITH LABOR FEARS?
Treatment of postpartum anxiety
There is a range of effective and safe approaches to the treatment of postpartum anxiety. The type of treatment that is good for you depends on many factors, including your personal history and the severity of your state of fear when seeking help.
If your anxiety is mild to moderate, it usually means that you have some symptoms and that although you have influenced your quality of life and your ability to get things done, you can still function in a general way. If this is the case, practical and emotional support with psychological support and/or psychological treatment can be very effective.
This can be offered personally or in groups, so you can discuss how you feel and what you think with someone who can support and listen without judgment. Support tips can also help you develop strategies that allow you to overcome difficulties that can contribute to your anxiety in general.
Two types of psychological treatments can be effective for the treatment of mild to moderate anxiety:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – This is a structured treatment that focuses on your way of thinking (cognition) and your behavior (behavior), which can influence your feelings – in this case by reducing your feelings of fear and anxiety.
- Interpersonal therapy (IPT) – Often fear can be caused by tension with others, personal loss, changes and/or conflicts in relationships.
If your anxiety is moderate to severe, you can use safe and effective medication to control the often overwhelming symptoms of anxiety.
Although they are often associated with the treatment of depression, antidepressants can be very helpful in the treatment of anxiety disorders.
Treatments for postpartum depression are available. You are not a horrible person or crazy if you are not enjoying the little bundle of joy. Your body has gone through tremendous changes and now adds a lack of sleep, and the responsibility of caring for this little one can be overwhelming. There is hope, you should be optimal and get help when you need to.