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Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders Treatment

We offer evidence-based group support and tailored treatment for people struggling with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs). Fill out the short form below, or give us a call, to start healing from PMADs today with Charlie Health.

How are PMADs diagnosed?

PMADs refer to various mental health conditions occurring during the perinatal period, like postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, perinatal depression, perinatal anxiety, postpartum psychosis, postpartum OCD, and more. Each condition is diagnosed separately based on criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Standardized screening tools for maternal mental health may be used to help with the diagnosis. Also, mental health professionals may work collaboratively with perinatal healthcare professionals, like obstetricians and gynecologists, to fully understand a person’s mental health.

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What are the best types of therapy for PMADs? 

  1. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  2. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skills
  3. Trauma-focused therapy

How does CBT treat PMADs? 

CBT helps those with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders challenge negative beliefs contributing to mood disturbances (usually about pregnancy, postpartum, or parenthood) and replace them with more balanced perspectives. This therapy helps people establish healthier behavioral patterns, focuses on building coping skills, and empowers people to manage pregnancy- and parenting-related stressors. CBT also incorporates psychoeducation into treatment, providing people with information about PMADs to normalize their experiences.

How do DBT skills treat PMADs?

DBT skills fall into four categories: distress tolerance, emotional regulation, mindfulness, and interpersonal effectiveness. Here’s how each of these skills can serve people with PMADs: 

  1. Distress tolerance: these skills offer alternatives to unhealthy coping mechanisms that may arise during the perinatal period, especially related to anxiety. 
  2. Emotional regulation: people learn to identify and modify emotional responses, fostering greater emotional stability during pregnancy and postpartum. 
  3. Mindfulness: these skills help people stay present and be aware of their thoughts and emotions without judgment. 
  4. Interpersonal effectiveness: people learn to improve communication and relationships, vital for support during pregnancy and early parenthood

How does trauma-focused therapy treat PMADs? 

Trauma-focused therapy helps people process and alleviate the impact of past traumas that may contribute to PMADs by creating a safe space to explore and make sense of these experiences. This therapy uses specific techniques to address the challenges of the perinatal period. It also supports people in developing healthier coping strategies for both trauma and the demands of pregnancy and early parenthood.  

In their words

Client & family testimonials

Young Adult

“This program saved my life.”

I came to CH with so much trauma and undiagnosed mental health issues. I couldn’t see how things could possibly get better for me, but Charlie Health gave me reason to keep going, to keep trying. This program saved my life.

—Elora

Young Adult

“Charlie Health helped me feel again.”

I was numb to all emotions for nearly a decade, but Charlie Health helped me feel again. I learned that it’s okay to feel differently than what society might think.

—Brianna

Young Adult

“I have never felt so happy with myself.”

I struggled very much with anxiety and panic disorder and depression. I was super nervous about joining Charlie Health but now that I have completed the program, I have never felt so happy with myself. I have been able to control my mental health and live my life.

—Charlie Health Alum

How does Charlie Health treat PMADs?

Charlie Health is proud to offer specialized programming for clients navigating the complexities of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs). 

This specialty – which is just one segment of our broader maternal mental health program – is meticulously crafted to cater to the unique needs of those grappling with PMADs.

Emphasizing the importance of timely intervention, personalized care plans, and evidence-based therapies, our goal is to mitigate the potential negative and long-term impacts of perinatal mood disorders on mothers, children, and the entire family unit. 

Our expert therapists undergo specialized training in this domain, ensuring that each individual diagnosed with a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder is matched with a primary therapist uniquely qualified to provide support and treatment. Furthermore, we curate evidence-based groups specifically for those experiencing PMADs, fostering a supportive community where shared experiences lead to meaningful connections and the development of long-lasting coping strategies.

What are the challenges of treating PMADs?

The biological, psychological, and social factors specific to the perinatal period can make treating PMADs challenging. The perinatal period is one of intense emotions and challenges for many, so distinguishing between so-called normal stressors and PMAD symptoms can be difficult, potentially leading to underdiagnosis. Also, stigma and societal expectations around motherhood and parenthood can prevent people from seeking help. Limited awareness among healthcare providers and barriers to accessing perinatal mental healthcare can add to these challenges.

Woman with PMADs

How effective is therapy for PMADs?

While the results may differ from person to person, evidence-based therapies are effective in treating PMADs. Therapy can help people address distorted thoughts, improve coping skills, and navigate the unique stressors of pregnancy and early parenthood. Combining therapy with other supports, like medication and social networks, is a comprehensive approach to managing PMADs.

Why is group support effective for treating PMADs?

Group support is effective for treating PMADs because it creates a sense of community and shared experience, reducing isolation and stigma. Being part of a supportive group allows people to share thoughts and coping strategies, fostering understanding and validation. Seeing others’ recovery can also instill hope and motivation. Group support often complements individual therapy for comprehensive healing during the perinatal period.

FAQs on PMADs

What causes perinatal mood disorders?

The causes of PMADs vary from person to person, but it is believed to be a result of biological, psychological, and social factors. Hormonal changes during pregnancy and postpartum, genetic predisposition, external stressors, and underlying mental health conditions can all contribute to PMADs.

Are certain people more likely to develop PMADs?

Anyone can develop PMADs, but certain biological, psychosocial, and social factors can put someone more at risk. People with a personal or family history of mood or anxiety disorders face an increased risk of developing PMADs, in addition to those who deal with higher levels of stress, a history of trauma, or pregnancy or childbirth complications. Not all people with these risk factors will develop PMADs, though, and people can develop the condition without these risk factors.

What are the main signs of PMADs?

The signs of PMADs vary depending on the specific condition someone is facing, but some of the main signs are as follows:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness or emptiness
  • Heightened anxiety, worry, irritability, or overwhelm
  • Changes in appetite or sleep patterns
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • A loss of interest or pleasure in previously enjoyed activities
  • Intrusive thoughts related to harm coming to themselves or their baby

If you’re having thoughts of harming yourself or someone else, including an infant, this is a mental health emergency, and you should contact The Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988

What are the different types of PMADs?

PMADs encompass a range of perinatal conditions, including:

  • Postpartum depression
  • Postpartum anxiety
  • Postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Postpartum psychosis

How common are PMADs?

PMADs are common, overall affecting about a quarter of people during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Some diagnoses, like postpartum depression and anxiety, are more common than others, like postpartum OCD and psychosis. However, the true prevalence is likely higher due to underreporting and issues in diagnosis.

Do PMADs ever go away?

Yes, PMADs are treatable. With appropriate care and support, like therapy and medication, many people with PMADs can fully recover and have a positive and fulfilling experience of parenthood. The duration and intensity of PMADs vary, but early detection and timely treatment generally lead to better outcomes.

PMADs treatment at Charlie Health

If you or a loved one are struggling with PMADs, Charlie Health is here to help. 

Our virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) offers more than once-weekly therapy for people with complex mental health needs and their families—including clients with PMADs. Charlie Health’s expert clinicians use evidence-based therapies in group sessions, individual therapy, and family therapy to ensure holistic, long-term healing. Managing PMADs can be challenging, but remember: you are not alone; help is available. Fill out our short form to get started today.

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