I keep reading that postpartum depression doesn't go away by itself, that it is important to seek treatment for postpartum depression, because without treatment, it will just stick around.
I'm wondering if this is true, especially considering that antidepressants are not recommended for every woman with postpartum depression. For some, their entire treatment consists of therapy. What happens in therapy that can't be done without a therapist? Aren't there self-care steps women with postpartum depression can take, or can't they work through their feelings with supportive friends and family and overcome their depression that way? And doesn't time heal, as well?
I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts about this.
This is a very interesting question.
If you recognize the signs of postpartum depression in yourself or someone you care about, it really is best to seek treatment for postpartum depression or encourage your loved one to do so.
Postpartum depression CAN go away on its own, just like other forms of depression can. It happens. If it does, it's bound to take a longer time than it would have with treatment, and in the meantime, waiting for that, the depressed person will feel bad the whole time.
It is also possible that, rather than going away, the postpartum depression will escalate. It can lead to suicidal thoughts, feelings, and plans, and it can lead to the same feelings in relation to the baby. Postpartum depression can even lead to psychosis, which is very serious.
That is a risk that is not necessary to take. That is why it is important to seek treatment for postpartum depression.
I guess the question shouldn't be "Is it theoretically possible that postpartum depression will go away by itself?", but "How can women with postpartum depression best get the help they need?"! As it is, there's already little recognition for mental illness and many, many people think you can just positive-think your way out of it. As a result, women with postpartum depression are ashamed to seek treatment, and they're also told that "things will get better, you're just overwhelmed".
Why shouldn't something that causes hell for women be treated? Why would anyone think seeking treatment for postpartum depression isn't important?
Hey, folks, perhaps we're talking about two very different things here?
1. Does postpartum depression eventually go away on its own?
2. How can we create a culture in which women with postpartum depression get the support and treatment they need to feel better as soon as possible?
I don't think we can say that there are never cases in which women find their own way out of depression, or just spontaneously start feeling better after having postpartum depression. I am sure it happens. Maybe some even prefer it that way, because therapy can be very intimidating, but I'd assume most women suffering from postpartum depression are pretty desperate to feel better.
If you look, you can find people on the internet actively advocating for "natural", self-help, postpartum depression treatment. It includes things like making sure you get eight hours of sleep a day and making sure you eat well, along with tips to use homeopathic remedies and to reduce stress.
Frankly, it's insulting.
I'd warn any mom who thinks or knows she has postpartum depression to not fall into that trap. What it does is, you'll blame yourself when it doesn't work, but it doesn't work because that's not how you cure depression.
In short, that is exactly why people with PPD need professional, research-based help.
Yeah. It's important to get treatment for postpartum depression because the treatment works and because you see medical professionals who know what they're doing in the process, and you need that. Without it, you might not get better and it's not at all unusual to start feeling worse and worse. The sooner you get help, the sooner you're likely to start feeling better - antidepressants kick in pretty fast. Another thing to consider is, the first years of a child's life make a lasting impact on them. I'm not trying to blame anyone for being depressed, but a non-depressed mother has benefits, no?
I've never had postpartum depression myself, but I do have a friend who had it, twice. I've also been in therapy for PTSD, so I can talk about the benefit of therapy. It was literally years before I felt comfortable reaching out to a therapist or rather, I felt my daily life was suffering so much that I couldn't honestly go on without it. A psychologist has more insight into your situation than you do by yourself, both because of their training and because they are further away from the situation and get a clearer picture because of it. They also have techniques to help you relax, to get you to change your thought patterns, and so on. I would not be where I am today without therapy.
OP, I'm not sure if you're asking the question for yourself or just out of general interest, but if you think you have postpartum depression signs, it's important to get treatment because it's your best hope for getting better. Don't underestimate the power of treatment. Thinking it won't help is perhaps even part of the depression.
Best of luck.
Because untreated postpartum depression can turn into a major depressive episode, and even chronic depressive disorder.
Because untreated postpartum depression can cause bonding difficulties, which impact a child into adulthood.
Because postpartum depression affects the whole family, making what was meant to be a happy time a very stressful time.
Because postpartum depression is a terrible experience and one you want to be rid of as soon as you can so you can start living your life again.
That just about covers it, I think. There are lots of reasons to seek treatment, and I wish more mothers would feel able to do it sooner.