Answering the Question, “How Long Does Postpartum Depression Last?”
So you’re feeling down after having a baby. The idea that you may have postpartum depression (PPD) may have crossed your mind a time or two. But is it really postpartum depression, or are you just dealing with the side effects of going through a huge life change?
You know what we mean. Not just the fact that you have another life to take care of, but you also have to adapt to things like,
- Not getting as much sleep as you did before
- A body that looks, feels, and behaves differently than before giving birth (if you had surgery, this is even more challenging to navigate)
- Massive hormone fluctuations
- Possible disappointment about how your labor and delivery went
- Feelings of isolation and loneliness
These are not minor things. They’re significant and valid to how you might feel. While these challenges may lead you to believe you’re just a little overwhelmed and exhausted, you may want to explore how you’ve been feeling a little deeper.
Is it Postpartum Depression?
So how do you know if it’s actually PPD? And how do you know if you should look for postpartum depression treatment in San Diego or wherever you may be?
First of all, if you have any idea that something is off, it’s a good idea to find help. A qualified mental health professional can help you. Whether it’s clinical postpartum depression or even the baby blues, getting mental health support can only benefit you.
Secondly, it’s helpful to know some of the signs of postpartum depression. This way, you can recognize if what you’re feeling is more than just feeling overwhelmed and overtired.
Common symptoms of postpartum depression include:
- feeling overwhelmingly sad, anxious, or worried
- crying more than you usually do
- trouble sleeping
- changes in appetite (eating more or less)
- feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- having recurrent thoughts of harm coming to your baby
- difficulty taking care of yourself, your family, and your baby
- avoiding activities you used to enjoy
- isolating yourself
- experiencing moodiness, anger, and restlessness
- inability to focus and make decisions
- having unexplained headaches
Do any of these symptoms sound eerily familiar to you? If so, there’s a good chance you have postpartum depression. And, of course, we want to reiterate how crucial it is to seek postpartum depression treatment in San Diego or wherever you’re located as soon as possible.
Early intervention is the best way to combat PPD and get you feeling more like yourself sooner.
How Long You’ll Feel This Way
Dealing with the symptoms of postpartum depression can be disruptive to your everyday life, not to mention debilitating. You may find yourself asking, “How long can postpartum depression last?” hoping that it’ll go away on its own sooner rather than later.
The not-so-great news is that there’s no definite answer. How long PPD last differs significantly among women. We can’t say, “Oh, you’ll feel much better in 2-4 months. Just power through!” Because that’s not necessarily true.
What we can tell you is that early intervention with the help of a qualified mental health expert can help you feel better much faster. You’ll not only learn the tools and strategies you need to overcome PPD, but you’ll also be able to enjoy being a mom and connect with your baby.
Getting Help Can Reduce Symptoms Faster
While there’s no definitive answer to the question, “how long does postpartum depression last” there are some things you can do to make sure you feel better as soon as you can. Avoiding seeking postpartum depression treatment means your PPD could last for months or possibly even years.
Current recommended guidelines advise pediatricians to screen new mothers for PPD at children’s well-visits for up to six months after they give birth.
However, one 2020 study, tracking over 4,500 women for three years after giving birth, revealed that many of the women experienced postpartum depression for much longer than six months. The study also suggested some other shocking numbers.
- 38% of the women studied experienced chronic symptoms of PPD
- 50% of the women receiving treatment for depression continued to experience symptoms for over one year
- Of those not receiving postpartum depression treatment, 30% still experienced symptoms at year three.
Why is this crucial information?
It shows how PPD and PPA can last longer than a few months. And if you don’t seek professional help, postpartum depression can last for years. It also raises the question of how long doctors should screen for postpartum depression.
The answer is: for much longer than six months.
Risk Factors for Developing Postpartum Depression
You don’t suffer from postpartum depression by choice. PPD is a clinical illness that is not only 100% diagnosable but it’s also 100% treatable.
Why some women develop postpartum depression is still somewhat of a mystery. But there are some risk factors that could make you more susceptible.
- history of depression or bipolar disorder before you got pregnant
- mixed feelings about being pregnant
- alcohol or drug use disorder
- medical complications during delivery
- preterm birth or birthing a child with a health condition
- unsupportive partner or loved ones
- family member with a mental illness
- stressful life during pregnancy like domestic violence, loss of a loved one, job loss, or illness
Risk Factors for Developing Longer-Term PPD
There have also been limited studies on what could cause postpartum depression to last longer. Most of the findings suggest that those women who suffer from PPD for long periods had depression before they got pregnant. In other words, PPD is a continuation of their preexisting depression.
Other risk factors that could contribute include a poor relationship with your partner, stress, and sexual abuse history.
It’s important to understand that whether you suffer from depression or postpartum depression, getting professional help is the best thing you can do for yourself, your baby, and your future.
Get the Best Postpartum Depression Therapy in San Diego
At BOLD Health, we offer several levels of postpartum depression treatment in San Diego. We provide anything from individual therapy sessions to our high-quality intensive outpatient program (IOP). When you contact our team of professionals here at BOLD, we get the process rolling right away. You’ll meet with an experienced mental health professional who will get to know you and determine the best treatment option for you.
No two therapy plans are the same. Depending on your individual needs, genetic and biological background, and lived experiences, your clinician will put together the best course of treatment for you.
If our IOP in San Diego is suitable for you, you’ll get the mental health care you need in an outpatient setting. Over ten weeks, you’ll have a rigorous treatment schedule with mandatory individual and group sessions. You may even have medication management as part of your therapy plan.