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can ppd depression wean off on its own without medication?

By Anonymous July 29, 2009 - 7:43am
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i have ppd

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Hi, Anon, and welcome to EmpowHer. Thanks so much for your question.

Congratulations on the new baby! Boy? Girl? I know this is a special time in your life. But I'm so sorry you're dealing with post-partum depression. How long ago did you give birth? And what symptoms are you feeling?

EmpowHer has a terrific encyclopedia entry on post partum depression:


I hope you know that this is not your fault. There seems to be no actual reason why some women get PPD and others don't. It's estimated that about 10% of new moms -- 1 out of 10! -- experience PPD at some point. We have some EmpowHer moderators on the site who are moms that have written about their PPD and what a struggle it was. But you can get through it.

PPD is temporary, but no one can tell you exactly how long yours will last. The Mayo Clinic says it could be a few months or it could last up to a year. It will probably go away on its own in time, but it will most likely go away sooner with some therapy and/or medication and/or hormonal treatment. Is this a possibility for you?

New moms are often stressed to the limit, not to mention sleep-deprived, and none of that helps with PPD. Are you getting enough nutritious food to eat? Are you able to get any sleep? (Don't disregard that tried-and-true advice about "when the baby sleeps, you sleep." That's much more important than washing the dishes or picking up the living room.

Here's one EmpowHer moderator's story:


Here is the Mayo Clinic's site on PPD. There are also blue links down the left side that discuss causes, symptoms, treatment and so on:


Here's an excerpt from that page:

"Baby blues: The baby blues usually fade on their own within a few days to weeks. In the meantime, get as much rest as you can. Accept help from family and friends. Connect with other new moms. Avoid alcohol, which can make mood swings worse. If you have an underactive thyroid, your doctor may prescribe thyroid medication.

"Postpartum depression: Postpartum depression is often treated with counseling and medication.
■ Counseling. It may help to talk through your concerns with a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health professional. Through counseling, you can find better ways to cope with your feelings, solve problems and set realistic goals. Sometimes, family or marital therapy also is helpful.
■ Antidepressants. Antidepressants are a proven treatment for postpartum depression. If you're breast-feeding, it's important to know that any medication you take will enter your breast milk. However, various antidepressants can be used during breast-feeding with little risk of side effects for your baby. Work with your doctor to weigh the potential risks and benefits of specific antidepressants.
■ Hormone therapy. Estrogen replacement may help counteract the rapid drop in estrogen that accompanies childbirth, which may ease the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression in some women. Research on the effectiveness of hormone therapy for postpartum depression is limited, however. As with antidepressants, weigh the potential risks and benefits of hormone therapy with your doctor.
With appropriate treatment, postpartum depression usually goes away within a few months. In some cases, postpartum depression lasts up to a year. It's important to continue treatment after you begin to feel better, however. Stopping treatment too early may only lead to a relapse."

Here's a very good page on PPD from the National Institutes of Health:


And here is a Family Doctor Action Plan worksheet you can print out and fill out to help yourself during this time:


It's important to not be too hard on yourself. You're dealing with hormones and brain chemicals, not a lack of care or love or ability on your part. I know that's hard to believe, but there's nothing wrong with you, ok? Women deal with this all the time, and it's not just you.

There are also online PPD support groups, where women can share their experiences and get some support from others. Here's one home page:


And on that home page, if you click up top on "communicate," you'll get a drop down menu that includes past newsletters and discussion forums. Here's a link to the forums:


Some of the topics for forums include Introductions, Frequently Asked Questions, Military Moms, Obsessive Compulsive Symptoms, Intrusive Thoughts & Anxiety, Symptoms Medications Treatments & Tools for Recovery, and Alternative/Holistic Treatments and Ideas. Visit the site -- I think you'll find women there who have been where you are. It's good to feel that you're not alone.

Does some of this help? I sure hope so. Take care of you, because that's the best way to take care of that new baby, too.

July 29, 2009 - 8:34am
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