Postpartum Depression And Addiciton

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What is Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression and addiction are a common struggle for many new mothers.

It is clinical depression related to pregnancy and childbirth.

It can cause many women to self-medicate to cope with their symptoms of postpartum depression.

The birth of a baby is a powerful moment in a mother’s life.

The emotions are often unpredictable. Postpartum depression is a complication as a result of childbirth, not a moral failing or weakness.

Postpartum depression affects many mothers.

Sadly, it is estimated that many mothers never receive a diagnosis because their symptoms are ignored or missed.

Most doctors are untrained to recognize postpartum depression.

Dangers of Untreated Postpartum Depression

A mother is supposed to love her children.

When postpartum depression is left untreated and compounded with substance abuse it puts both mother and baby at risk.

An infamous case in 2001 involving untreated postpartum depression ended with a mother drowning her 5 children in a bathtub.

In California, there are hundreds of women incarcerated for killing their children.

Over half of these women took their baby’s life before they were year old.

In other countries around the world, there are laws in place to protect women who harm their babies within the first year of life.

It is presumed automatically that she suffers from postpartum depression.

Mothers are sentences to intensive treatment, not prison.

When it’s more than Just the Blues

Baby blues and postpartum depression can be difficult to distinguish. Both are used interchangeably, however, there are major differences between the two. Having the baby blues is very common after childbirth. The huge surge and loss of hormone levels are responsible. For the most part, the symptoms of the baby blues subside after a couple of weeks.

When the sadness continues to linger it may indicate you have postpartum depression. Baby blues that start to become more intense is another early warning sign that you may need to seek professional help, especially when you begin feeling hopeless. Be sure to check up on yourself constantly during the first month so you can keep track of your progression.

Signs and Symptoms of Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression may interfere with everyday life, like caring for your baby and handling day to day responsibilities. Symptoms usually develop shortly after childbirth but can start during pregnancy. Postpartum depression can even develop up to a year after birth. Postpartum depression can trigger the new mother to either start abusing substances again or start abusing substances for the first time.

Sign and Symptoms of Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression affects first-time mothers and women who have already had children, there is no specific cause. The symptoms of postpartum depression are often dramatic. It’s important to not go into denial about your condition. Denial might stop you from getting the help you need and that might send you farther down the path of addiction. The following are symptoms that can indicate postpartum depression

  • Feeling depressed
  • Mood swings
  • Inconsolable crying
  • Difficulty bonding
  • Isolating oneself from family and friends
  • Loss of appetite
  • Binge eating
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Overwhelming fatigue
  • Unable to find pleasure in activities
  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Feeling inadequate
  • Hopelessness
  • Persistent feeling of shame
  • Forgetfulness
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Pervasive thoughts of hurting yourself or baby
  • Suicidal idealization

Your Mental Health and Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression may last for a long time when left untreated. Sometimes mothers do not recognize or acknowledge they are struggling. When left untreated the symptoms can be difficult to cope with, especially if you already have cooccurring mental health disorders. This is why some mothers turn to drugs because of their postpartum depression.

If you suspect you have postpartum depression reach out for help. The sooner you receive care the better you will feel. Resurgence Behavioral Health can answer your questions about postpartum depression and addiction. A quick assessment over the phone can help you decide a course of action.

Postpartum Depression and Addiction

Postpartum depression and addiction are a tragically common pairing. Women with postpartum depression are at risk for developing a substance misuse disorder compared to mothers without symptoms. Mothers who have a history of addiction are at a greater risk of developing postpartum depression. Some reasons why women with postpartum depression abuse substances are:

  • Attempts to cope with anxiety and stress
  • Improve depressed mood
  • Attempt to improve the ability to fall asleep
  • Increase energy levels

Maternal Addiction

Many women can achieve sobriety while pregnant. Sadly, within two years, over half of these women will relapse. Postpartum depression is serious, devastating, and persistent without treatment. It can especially affect a mother’s ability to bond with her infant.

Many mothers are often unconcerned over their health but are keenly aware of the risk to their newborns. Several medical studies have reported women weaning infants to resume using drugs.

Some mothers falsely believe that getting high after they breastfeed will be okay. However, taking any illegal substances while breastfeeding is very dangerous. If you breastfeed your baby is at risk for developing drug dependence and withdrawal. There are side effects that can be observed in breastfed infants of maternal drug users:

  • Heroin: difficulty latching and feeding, restless, tremors and vomiting
  • Methamphetamine: irritability and sleep disturbances
  • Cocaine: diarrhea, irritability, seizures, and vomiting

Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies

Neglecting or abusing a child at any age may create deep emotional turmoil that can take a lifetime to heal. A mother with a substance misuse disorder will never be able to provide a healthy life for their children. Addiction impacts children who eventually experience psychological and behavioral issues when maternal substance abuse is untreated.

If the cycle cannot be broken, it will repeat in the next generation. Coordinated treatment for postpartum depression and addiction is essential. Both cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT and addiction education are beneficial for both disorders. Support groups can help normalize the struggles of motherhood and depression while reducing guilt and shame from addiction.

Getting Help for Postpartum Depression and Addiction

Addiction is powerful and destructive. It cannot be cured, but intensive addiction treatment can help your recovery and prevent relapses. If you are struggling with an addiction, many mothers find the post-natal period is a motivating factor for receiving addiction counseling. Treatment for your postpartum depression and addiction can be discreet.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPPA are laws that protect your medical information. Generally, your health care providers cannot violate the doctor-patient privilege, unless there is an active danger to yourself or others. This also includes therapists, addiction specialists, and mental health professionals.

Postpartum Depression and Addiction Treatment

It is not an easy choice to make to leave your baby behind while you seek treatment for your postpartum depression and addiction.

Working hard towards your recovery can help you transition to outpatient care as soon as possible.

Deciding to treat your addiction is the best choice you can make as a mother.

At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we understand how hard it can be being a mother while balancing the needs of family and household responsibilities.

We provide comprehensive services to help heal the whole family, including young children.

This inclusive approach is essential if you are starting or returning to recovery.

Let us help you find your road to recovery and help you develop the tools you need for your life and to care for your baby.

Please contact us for more information.

We accept major insurances providers and will help you navigate your insurance coverage to provide you the maximum care permitted in your plan.

Addiction Treatment that
Just Works

Individualized treatment programs delivered in a comfortable, relaxed setting promote healing in your recovery journey.