You hear a lot about postpartum depression (PPD), its symptoms, how common it is, and treatment options. But you don’t hear as much about postpartum anxiety (PPA), even though it’s just as serious. And in many cases, both postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety can present themselves at the same time. This could be why PPA is often overlooked – it’s lumped together with PPD.
Postpartum anxiety can begin during pregnancy. But it can also show up several months or even years after giving birth. Hormone shifts are partly to blame and occur perinatally (during pregnancy), days and weeks after having a baby, and after weaning from breastfeeding.
So How Do You Know If You Have Postpartum Anxiety?
Symptoms of postpartum anxiety can be confused with postpartum depression. But the two maternal mental health issues are different, albeit often presenting hand-in-hand. Postpartum depression can cause overwhelming sadness and the inability to bond with your baby.
On the other hand, postpartum anxiety typically manifests in forms of worry.
Like clinical non-postpartum anxiety, PPA makes you feel like you have no sense of calm and balance. Constantly feeling on edge and worried has a negative impact on your life, your family, and your baby. But because postpartum anxiety isn’t discussed as often as postpartum depression, it can be overlooked and is often underdiagnosed.
Related Post: 5 Things To Remember When You Have Postpartum Depression
Postpartum anxiety symptoms include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Feelings of dread
- Constant worry
- Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
- Inability to concentrate
- Racing, uncontrollable, consuming thoughts
- Hot flashes
If you have postpartum anxiety, quite often you’ll experience recurrent and overwhelming thoughts. Most of the time, they concern yourself, your family, or your baby. Some of these thoughts may look something like:
- Fear that harm will come to your baby or yourself
- Shame and guilt when something goes “wrong”
- Fear that you or your partner will die
- Sense that something terrible is going to happen
Of course, all new moms worry about their baby and their ability to provide what their child needs. And with motherhood comes sleep deprivation. Unfortunately, many new moms chalk it up to their physical and mental symptoms of postpartum anxiety to exhaustion.
But the symptoms of postpartum anxiety are incessant. They don’t seem to ever stop. Even if you know you don’t have to ruminate on troubling thoughts constantly, you just can’t seem to control them.
If this sounds like you, it’s time for you to seek postpartum anxiety treatment.
Treatments for Postpartum Anxiety
The great news about PPA is that it’s absolutely treatable. If you feel ashamed for needing help and seeking postpartum anxiety treatment, don’t be. You and hundreds of thousands of other moms worldwide are feeling the way you do.
Getting help for postpartum anxiety means you can enjoy your baby, actually appreciate being a mom, and bask in the beautiful moments you’ll share with your family. All without stress and worry.
That sounds heavenly, doesn’t it?
The most effective treatments for postpartum anxiety are therapy, an intensive outpatient program (IOP), and medication (don’t be concerned – the medicine is safe for you and the baby.) And if your clinician feels you need a combination of both, that’s quite common too.
Related Post: Treating Postpartum Depression is Important: What to Expect
Therapy for Postpartum Anxiety
If you feel overwhelmed with never-ending worry and think you are suffering from postpartum anxiety, you can start by talking to your OBGYN or a qualified mental health treatment group like us at BOLD Health in San Diego.
Talk therapy is an excellent treatment for postpartum anxiety, just as it is for any other form of anxiety. During your therapy sessions, you’ll talk with your caring and compassionate clinician about your struggles with postpartum anxiety. Your experienced clinician will listen without judgment and walk you through helpful tools and strategies to fend off the worry and replace it with positive thought patterns.
Counseling as a postpartum anxiety treatment provides you with:
- someone who will listen
- help learning stress management coping skills
- assistance improving communication skills with those around you
- someone to encourage self-care
- a professional to treat your physical symptoms of postpartum anxiety
Related Post: Your Best Options for Treating Depression During Pregnancy
When you partner with a clinician here at BOLD Health, you’ll get the best postpartum anxiety treatment in San Diego. Our comprehensive team of PPA experts can help you overcome anxiety and worry along with postpartum depression. No matter how long your journey to wellness takes, we’re here for you.
Medication Management for Postpartum Anxiety
While you may not need medication, it has been proven as a highly safe and effective treatment for postpartum anxiety. If it’s determined a prescription will benefit you, medication management for postpartum anxiety is prescribed in conjunction with therapy sessions.
The medications most commonly prescribed for postpartum anxiety are those prescribed for postpartum depression. Your medication provider will review thoroughly the risks and benefits of taking any medication during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
This postpartum anxiety treatment medication is often the first prescription choice. It effectively works by increasing serotonin in your brain, thereby improving your mood. If breastfeeding, the most common option in SSRI medication to treat PPA is Sertraline (Zoloft) since less gets into your breastmilk.
- Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
Like SSRIs, SNRIs raise serotonin levels but also raise a brain chemical called norepinephrine, which could help increase your energy levels.
- Tricyclic antidepressants (Pamelor/Norpramin)
These medications for treating postpartum anxiety offer the same benefits as SSRIs. But they are prescribed less often because they can have more side effects.
Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) for Postpartum Anxiety
If you find regular talk therapy isn’t enough to treat your postpartum anxiety, you should consider enrolling in an IOP. This is an excellent treatment option because you get structured, intensive treatment at a facility but still get to go home and be with your baby. Unlike inpatient treatment, where you have to spend time away from home and your family, intensive outpatient programs let you take the skills and techniques you learn in therapy home with you to use in everyday situations.
As a leading IOP facility in the San Diego area, BOLD Health will work with you to create the optimal treatment schedule for you to overcome PPA. Our IOP includes one-on-one, group, and optional therapy sessions. You’ll work with your assigned clinician and peer group to share struggles, support one another, and work together toward healing.
IOP treatment can also be combined with medication management for postpartum anxiety.
Get the Best Postpartum Anxiety Treatment in San Diego
Here at BOLD Health, we pride ourselves on offering the best holistic treatment for postpartum anxiety in the San Diego area. We specialize in delivering customized treatment programs to our clients. When you take the BOLD step and partner with us, you won’t get cookie-cutter treatment for postpartum anxiety.
We’ll consider your whole self – your past circumstances, genetics, and biology to curate the ideal postpartum anxiety treatment program to help you heal.
You can enjoy being a mom without worry. And we can help.
[…] Here’s What You Need to Know About Treatment Options for Postpartum Anxiety […]
[…] you suffer from postpartum anxiety and PPD, you may have intrusive, repetitive thoughts about harm coming to your baby. Dealing […]
[…] After giving birth, new mothers experience a greater sensitivity to stress, fear, and panic in their new role. Abrupt hormone changes and sleep deprivation are obvious causes of these often intense feelings. Perhaps all new moms feel some sense of postpartum anxiety, but when it disrupts your daily life and consumes almost every thought, you may be dealing with clinical PPA. […]