Understanding Postpartum Depression and How TMS Therapy Can Help
Many people experience ‘baby blues’ after giving birth, but what happens when there is a more prolonged depression? This experience is called postpartum depression, and around one in ten women experience it after giving birth.
The good news is that there is increasing awareness about postpartum depression, making it possible for more women to get the help they need. Several treatment options exist, including transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
If you are struggling with your mental health after giving birth, it is time to seek help. This article will teach you everything you need to know about postpartum depression and why TMS therapy may be your best treatment option.
What Is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression refers to the time after giving birth when it is common for mothers to feel the ‘baby blues.’ Many women process their experiences after delivery and may feel sad, anxious, or have mood swings.
Depression and anxiety symptoms that last for over two weeks could be postpartum depression. Also, there are often more severe symptoms. It is important to receive prompt treatment for a fast recovery.
There are some risk factors for developing postpartum depression, including:
- Stressful life events
- Mental health history, including post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or bipolar disorder
- A previous diagnosis of major depressive disorder
- Family history of depression
- Pregnancy and birth complications
Sometimes, men may experience postpartum depression as well, especially if they have a history of mental illness or major depression. Men typically experience postpartum depression during their paternity leave or once they return to work.
Postpartum Depression Symptoms
Postpartum depression has many causes, including physical changes due to hormone fluctuations and emotional changes due to being forced to adapt to a new routine. There are a variety of symptoms, but often signs come on gradually, so women do not notice them at first.
It is not a flaw or failure to experience postpartum depression. However, it is essential to recognize the signs and seek the help you need:
- Mood swings
- Decreased social and cognitive functioning
- Feeling numb
- Difficulty bonding with baby
- Irritation and outbursts
- Sleep difficulties
- Lack of energy and feeling of fatigue
- Loss of interest
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
There are many symptoms of postpartum depression, which overlap with other mental health difficulties. If you have concerns about your mental health, it is crucial to seek advice from your primary care physician.
Other signs that it is time to see a doctor include symptoms beginning to worsen, difficulty caring for yourself or your baby, or thoughts of harming yourself or your baby. A woman can also experience postpartum psychosis and other challenges after giving birth.
Postpartum Depression Treatment
Around 80% of women with postpartum depression fully recover. However, it is crucial to seek professional support to recover. Some of the principal treatments for postpartum depression include:
Medication may be helpful to your recovery, but please seek advice from your doctor about what medication is suitable, especially if you are breastfeeding. Psychotherapy can also help you process feelings and trauma. It can also help you learn healthy coping behaviors and problem-solving skills.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
Another treatment for postpartum depression is transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). It is an effective treatment option that requires multiple sessions over weeks or months. It uses an electromagnetic coil, which is attached to your scalp.
TMS is a non-invasive treatment that stimulates nerve cells in the brain. It does this by using repetitive electromagnetic pulses focused on the areas of your brain that control mood.
Electrical currents activate cells to release neurotransmitters like serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine to restore balance once more.
Benefits of TMS for Postpartum Depression
TMS was approved for the treatment of depression in 2015. Since then, many studies have supported its success in treating treatment-resistant mental health difficulties.
TMS is an excellent treatment option if your postpartum depression is not responding to antidepressants, it is not possible for you to take medication, or if you need more support to complete psychotherapy. Here are some of the main benefits:
Safe for New Mothers
Some treatment options for postpartum depression require medication, which can impact your breastfeeding. However, TMS does not affect breastmilk, so that you can resume breastfeeding after each treatment. TMS therapy can even eliminate the need for medication. TMS has minimal side effects, is non-invasive, and is not painful.
One of the most common side effects is temporary headaches. It means you do not have to worry about not being able to care for your baby or need recovery time after each treatment session, which could negatively impact postpartum symptoms.
You can even drive after your treatment if you need. There is no need to stay in the hospital as it is an outpatient and non-invasive treatment.
TMS is not just an exciting new therapy option; it is also scientifically backed. Studies have found that TMS is an effective treatment option for postpartum depression. For example, studies have found long-term treatment effects and significant reductions in postpartum depression symptoms.
Effective for Treatment-resistant Depression
It can be frustrating when recovering from postnatal depression if your symptoms do not appear to be residing. Some women need more support than psychotherapy or medication. TMS therapy is an effective option, even for treatment-resistant depression, which brings relief to a lot of mothers.
Another benefit of TMS is that it is not addictive, making it an excellent treatment option for people with substance abuse disorders. TMS therapy allows postpartum women to focus on a holistic approach to recovering from depression.
TMS for Postpartum Depression
It can feel overwhelming and isolating to experience depressive symptoms, but it is essential to remember you are not alone. Help is out there to treat postpartum depression, achieve full recovery, and enjoy connecting with yourself and your baby once more. For some mothers, TMS is the best treatment option.
If you are experiencing postpartum depression, Oasis TMS is here to help. Contact us today to start feeling like yourself again.