Addiction and Postpartum Depression

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What is Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression is often the last thing on a woman’s mind during her pregnancy.

Many women think that postpartum depression cannot happen to them but with all the changes that having a baby brings, it is not uncommon for women to struggle with it.

While the exact cause of this condition is unknown, what is known is that it is serious.

For some women, the symptoms of postpartum depression can lead to problems with drug abuse.

Understanding Postpartum Depression

Some people may think that being depressed after having a baby is simply something called the “baby blues.”

While many people may deal with baby blues after giving birth, it is not the same as postpartum depression.

Baby blues typically set in within a few weeks of having a baby, and include mood swings, sadness, anxiety, insomnia, or a feeling of being overwhelmed.

These symptoms go away within a few days to a week. Postpartum depression symptoms can appear anytime up to a year after giving birth, and they last much longer.

The symptoms are why some women struggling with postpartum depression end up having issues with drug abuse.

The Effects of Postpartum Depression

The symptoms of postpartum depression can make a woman feel many different negative emotions. It can also have a serious effect on your ability to take care of yourself and your baby. The symptoms of postpartum depression can vary from woman to woman, but can include:

  • Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • A sense of being overwhelmed by even small tasks
  • Feeling worried, scared, or panicked
  • Blaming yourself for minor issues at home
  • Frequent bouts of crying
  • Consistent mood swings and anger issues
  • Not being able to sleep, or sleeping too much
  • Not feeling hungry, or eating too much
  • Problems concentrating
  • Preferring to be alone rather than spend time with friends and family
  • Avoiding activities that you used to enjoy
  • Problems developing an attachment to your baby

In rare cases, some women may develop even more serious symptoms of postpartum depression. These can include thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby, paranoia, hearing things that are not there, and even hallucinations.

Drug Abuse and Depression

After giving birth, women experience many fluctuations in hormones. When combined with a lack of sleep that comes with caring for an infant, a woman’s brain is at risk of a chemical imbalance. This imbalance is what is believed to cause postpartum depression.

Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and often feel impossible to overcome. This is when some women end up turning to drugs in order to feel better. There are a few different drugs most abused by women experiencing depression. Some women use marijuana to sleep or calm nervous emotions.

Some women use cocaine to try and give themselves more energy. Most often, women with postpartum depression drug abuse turn to prescription drugs. These can include anything from opioids to stimulants to depressants, each taken with the idea of trying to “solve” their postpartum depression symptoms.

Why Do Some Women with Postpartum Depression Abuse Drugs?

There are several different reasons that a woman struggling with depression may also suffer from drug abuse. Some studies have found that mothers under age 25 are more likely to suffer from postpartum depression. This is thought to be because our brains continue to develop until about this age.

Mothers with an unsupportive partner may also be at a higher risk of using drugs. And for women who have had drug abuse problems before their pregnancy, are much more likely to have drug issues again. Some of the other reasons a woman may abuse drugs after giving birth include:

  • To self-medicate
  • To help increase positive feelings
  • To relieve stress and anxiety
  • To fall asleep
  • To increase energy

Mental Illness and Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression can affect any woman, but some women may be more at risk than others. Women who have suffered from mental illnesses in the past, or have a family history of mental illnesses, are more likely to get postpartum depression.

Some women develop obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms. The more severe cases of depression, postpartum psychosis, is a serious mental health issue.

While it is relatively rare, its symptoms are very much like bipolar disorder. Women will cycle between periods of deep depression and periods of extreme activity, with erratic or disorganized habits.

Postpartum psychosis can cause hallucinations, as well as delusional ideas that have to do with the baby, such as it being “wrong” or “sick” somehow. The risk of a woman harming herself or her baby during psychosis episodes is high.

Beginning Treatment for Your Depression and Drug Use

Because depression with drug abuse is a dual diagnosis, it is important to treat both issues at the same time. At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we know just how important it is to get your health for both your sake and for the sake of your child.

Medical interventions, such as treatments for detox, will be used with care and discretion, especially if you are breastfeeding.

The first step in your recovery process will be going through drug detox. Many addiction treatment options can still be used to successfully get you detoxed from whatever drug you were using.

This can include medications to lessen withdrawal symptoms, to supervision and support from our staff. No matter what option you chose, we are here to help you go through detox at your own pace.

Medical Treatment Options

After you have successfully detoxed from any drugs in your system, we can begin focusing on treating your postpartum depression symptoms. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, is a great option to treat postpartum depression.

CBT helps clients look at their thoughts and behaviors to recognize what situations lead them to drug abuse. They are then given tactics to help them to deal with and avoid these situations.

We may also recommend an antidepressant. If you are breast-feeding, any medication you take will enter your breast milk. But most antidepressants can be used during breast-feeding with little risk of side effects for your baby.

We will work with you to ensure that you receive the most appropriate antidepressant for both you and your baby.

Paying for Treatment

We accept most PPO insurance as well as private forms of payment for treatment. We will also communicate with your insurance provider to ensure that you receive every benefit that you are entitled to.

You can complete a simple form right from our website or call us directly.

At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we believe that the environment is just as important as treatment. That is why our locations are in safe and secure neighborhoods, with plenty of open space for peace and quiet. Our warm, sunny weather and proximity to beaches and parks mean that, when you are ready and able, you can enjoy being outside.

Let us help teach you the tools and resources that you need to be successful in overcoming your depression and your addiction.

Call us today to get started on your road to a drug-free life.