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Treating Postpartum Depression

Posted Aug 24 2008 1:49pm
WENDY, HAD POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION: The depression, it was horrible. I thought I was a monster. I didn't know what was wrong with me, but I knew it wasn't me.

ANNOUNCER: When Wendy's mood plummeted a few weeks after her daughter's birth, she looked for help right away.

WENDY, HAD POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION: I went to my OB that Monday. I didn't even make an appointment, I just walked into the office and, you know, I was crying. I had the baby in a little carrier and I said, "Someone needs to help me. There's something wrong with me."

ANNOUNCER: Getting help is crucial, because depression can wreak havoc on a family.

SHARI LUSSKIN, MD: Women with depression are twice as likely to get divorced. If you've had one episode of depression, your risk of having a second episode of depression is 85% within 15 years. It's actually been shown that women who are depressed are more likely to have children with behavioral problems. But if the mother's depression is treated, then the risk of behavioral problems in the children is diminished.

ANNOUNCER: When it comes to treatment – it's not one size fits all.

SHARI LUSSKIN, MD: In its most basic form, treatment involves some sort of psychotherapy, very often, sometimes group therapy, sometimes medication, a combination of all three. And let me stress that although medication can be used safely, with relatively safety, both during pregnancy and during breastfeeding, there are other treatment options available in terms of psychotherapy that may be effective for a particular person

ANNOUNCER: Getting help with caring for the baby is also important.

SHARI LUSSKIN, MD: Support is essential. It's very hard to raise a baby on your own. That doesn't mean you have to be married or that you have to have a partner living with you. But you do need other people to help you.

ANNOUNCER: Wendy's depression lifted with the help of psychotherapy and medication. The support of her family got her through the tough times.

WENDY, HAD POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION: My family, everybody just kind of, you know, rallied around me and did whatever it took, you know? And that meant so much, having all that support.

ANNOUNCER: She has this advice for other new moms.

WENDY, HAD POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION: Just to speak up if you're not feeling like yourself. It's nothing to be ashamed of. I find that a lot of women keep, you know, their mouths closed because "Oh, my God, what is everybody gonna think?" You're more important.

ANNOUNCER: Thanks for joining us on today's Once Daily.

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