Postpartum Depression Treatment
How is PPD diagnosed?
Postpartum depression (PPD) is diagnosed through a combination of clinical assessment and standardized screening tools used by a dedicated health professional. PPD is not independently listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), but depression criteria are typically used as a guideline for diagnosing the condition throughout the postpartum period.
Mental health professionals may also work collaboratively with perinatal healthcare professionals, like obstetricians and gynecologists, to fully understand a patient’s mental health.
How does CBT treat PPD?
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps those with postpartum depression recognize and reframe distorted thinking about parenthood, self-worth, and the challenges of being a new parent. This type of talk therapy helps people establish healthier behavioral patterns, addresses specific postpartum depressive symptoms like sleep disturbances and identity changes, focuses on building coping skills, and empowers people to manage pregnancy- and parenting-related stressors.
How do mindfulness-based therapies treat PPD?
Mindfulness-based therapies focus on cultivating non-judgmental awareness of the present moment, which can help people with PPD (plus postpartum psychosis, postpartum anxiety, and a host of other maternal and perinatal mental health issues) notice thoughts and feelings without getting overwhelmed. Mindfulness techniques like meditation and mindful breathing are beneficial for managing intense postpartum depressive symptoms. Developing mindfulness skills improves the ability to respond skillfully to stressors and reduces rumination—valuable tools for coping with the challenges of new parenthood and alleviating PPD symptoms.
In their words
Client & family testimonials
“I wouldn’t have gotten out of that dark place.”
Charlie Health has changed my view on groups and their benefits to the healing/self discovery journey. I feel that I have learned so much from not only sharing my story but listening to others’ and providing feedback that I needed myself. I am leaving Charlie Health thinking and feeling more clear, balanced, and confident than when I came in and I’m so excited to continue down this path. Thank you Charlie Health and all who were a part of my journey. I wouldn’t have gotten out of that dark place without you!
“Charlie Health gave me a different perspective on my mental health.”
I learned about Charlie Health after going to the emergency room when I was feeling suicidal. The social worker there told me about the program, and it sounded like the best option because I figured something intensive would be good for me. My individual therapist at Charlie Health gave me a different perspective on my mental health and pointed out some coping skills that I already had. I also really liked the group aspect. Having other people around was very helpful. I learned a lot from their contributions.
—Charlie Health Alum
“Very empowering and validating.”
I started Charlie Health in a very, very dark state. I was so low that I didn’t know what to do. Slowly, as I learned to open up in group and implement some of the strategies covered, I gained more tools to be able to combat my obstacles. I am far from cured or even better than where I’ve always been, but for the first time, I feel like i have the methodology to get there. It’s been very empowering and validating, I’ve learned so much about myself here.
How does group therapy treat PPD?
Group therapy for PPD creates a supportive environment for sharing experiences and challenges of parenthood, reducing stigma and isolation linked with PPD, and fostering community and mutual support under the guidance of a healthcare provider. The dynamic of group therapy allows people with PPD to exchange coping strategies and learn from others who faced similar difficulties with new parenthood, postpartum depression symptoms, and more. Also, group sessions often involve psychoeducation about PPD, allowing participants to gain a better understanding of their condition and normalize their feelings.
Why is group support effective for treating PPD?
Group support is highly effective in treating PPD because it creates a sense of community and shared understanding. People with PPD often feel isolated, and groups provide a safe space to express emotions, share struggles, and receive empathy from others facing similar postpartum depressive symptoms. Hearing others’ stories and coping strategies offers valuable insights and practical advice, lessens stigma, and may even contribute to lower rates of maternal mortality in the postpartum period.
How does Charlie Health treat PPD?
We provide comprehensive and tailored treatment for caregivers navigating the complexities of pregnancy-related mental health challenges, including PPD. Our maternal mental health program is designed to address the specific needs of those struggling with PPD.
With a focus on early intervention, personalized care plans, and evidence-based therapies, we strive to mitigate the risks of postpartum depression (PPD), which can impact both mothers and their children.
Our primary therapists are trained in this specialty programming so that all clients who are diagnosed with postpartum depression can be matched with a provider who is uniquely positioned to support them along their healing journey. We also curate groups for clients with PPD and shared experiences to create bonds with fellow caregivers, encouraging them to build connection and build long-term coping skills.
What are the challenges of treating PPD?
The biological and social factors specific to the postpartum period can make treating PPD challenging. The postpartum period is one of intense hormonal fluctuations, which can complicate mood disorder assessment and make it challenging to distinguish between so-called normal emotions and PPD symptoms.
Also, stigma and societal expectations around motherhood and parenthood can prevent people from seeking help. Limited awareness among healthcare providers and barriers to accessing postpartum mental healthcare can add to these challenges and potentially cause under-diagnosis. Untreated postpartum depression can have serious and long-term mental and physical health consequences.
How effective is therapy for PPD?
While the results may differ from person to person, evidence-based therapies are effective in treating PPD. Therapy can help people address distorted thoughts, improve coping skills, and navigate the unique stressors of early parenthood. Combining therapy with other supports, like medication and social networks, is a comprehensive approach to managing PPD.
FAQs on PPD
What causes PPD?
The causes of PPD vary from person to person, but it is believed to be a result of hormonal changes after childbirth (particularly the rapid drop in estrogen and progesterone levels after childbirth), genetic predispositions, and changes in neurotransmitter levels due to sleep deprivation and the physical demands of caring for a newborn. Also, psychosocial factors like a history of depression and lack of social support can play a role.
Are certain people more likely to develop PPD?
Anyone can develop PPD, but certain biological, psychosocial, and social factors can put someone more at risk. People with a personal or family history of mood disorders face an increased risk of developing PPD, 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 PPD, though, and people can develop the condition without these risk factors.
What are the main signs of PPD?
The signs of PPD vary depending on the specific condition someone is facing, but some of the main signs are as follows:
- Persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness
- Heightened irritability
- Changes in appetite or sleep patterns
- Fatigue, headaches, muscle pain
- A loss of interest or pleasure in previously enjoyed activities
- Intrusive thoughts related to self-harm or harm to the newborn
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.
How common is PPD?
How long does PPD last?
The duration and intensity of PPD varies. For some, symptoms improve in a few weeks with treatment and support. However, for others, PPD can persist for six months or longer and may become chronic or reoccur with subsequent pregnancies. Timely treatment, including therapy, support groups, medication, or a combination, can help people recover quicker.
PPD treatment at Charlie Health
If you or a loved one are struggling with postpartum depression (PPD), 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 PPD. Charlie Health’s expert clinicians use evidence-based therapies in group sessions, individual therapy, and family therapy to ensure holistic, long-term healing. Managing PPD can be challenging, but remember: you are not alone; help is available. Fill out our short form to get started today.