Range of treatments: Postpartum depression
The baby is here! Everyone is delighted and as a mother, surely you must be the happiest of them all? But exactly the opposite is the case: You feel sad, out of energy, drained and the situation is overwhelming you. You feel guilty about not being able to give your child the amount of love you want. Perhaps you even feel like a “bad” mother? Are you ashamed and don’t understand what’s wrong with you? Then you may be suffering from postpartum depression, a disease with which you are by no means alone and which can be treated very effectively.
What is postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression is the most common mental illness that occurs after childbirth. One in every seven to ten women is affected after giving birth. During the first two years after the birth of the child, long-lasting depressive episodes take place, characterised by sadness, apathy and feelings of guilt. Those immediately around the individual often show little understanding. A mother who cannot develop feelings for her child is considered taboo. Many sufferers therefore suffer in silence out of shame. They neglect themselves and the baby or only care for the child mechanically. This poses the risk of attachment disorders and behavioural problems in the child. In addition, if left untreated, the level of suffering in those affected solidifies and continues to worsen. In the worst case, this can lead to suicide or extended suicide, where the mother no longer sees a way out and kills herself, or herself and the child.
Postpartum depression: Important indications
Postpartum depression is a mental illness that needs to be taken very seriously. It usually arises gradually and takes place in close relation to the time of birth. Depending on the manifestation and severity of the symptoms, a basic distinction is made between three forms:
– The “baby blues”
– Postpartum depression
– Postpartum psychosis
Postpartum mood: What are the baby blues?
A few days after the birth – around the time the milk comes in – 50 to 80 percent of all mothers develop the so-called baby blues. This leads to slight psychological upsets and sensitivities with depression, fear of failure, frequent crying, sleep problems and exhaustion. These very common days of crying are usually short-lived. They are considered to be the mildest form of postpartum depression. The main reason for the development is the strong drop in the oestrogen and progesterone hormones immediately after birth. Oestrogen in particular has a mood-enhancing and stabilising effect in the brain. Then there are the many changes in everyday life and in the couple’s relationship that a baby brings, as well as sleep deprivation. When the hormone level in the body has levelled off again after a few hours to a few days and everyday life with the baby becomes more routine, the symptoms quickly subside by themselves in most women. Therapy is usually not required. During this sensitive phase, it is particularly helpful to obtain supportive information and advice from the attending physician or midwife, as well as understanding help and support from the partner and other close relatives.
What is postpartum depression?
However, if the symptoms persist for more than two weeks, solidify and worsen, or similar symptoms recur and persist within the first two years after birth, this may be the onset of postpartum depression. About 10 to 15 percent of all new mothers develop postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is a very serious mental illness. It usually develops insidiously. The first signs typically appear around 4 to 6 weeks after the birth. However, they can occur later up to two years after the birth.
Because the affected women are unable to develop positive feelings for the baby as a result of the illness and to take care of the child with loving care, they often develop strong feelings of guilt. They feel extremely ashamed, like a bad mother and hide their feelings from the outside world. Often they withdraw strongly and isolate themselves. Only a few find the courage to confide in other people. As a result, postpartum depression is often recognised very late or sometimes not at all.
Unlike the baby blues, postpartum depression does not go away on its own. It can have serious effects on the health of both mother and child. Therefore, it should always be treated by a specialist.
What are the symptoms of postpartum depression?
Typical signs of postpartum depression are
- Persistent sadness
- Frequent crying
- Sleep disorders
- Feeling of emptiness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Psychosomatic complaints such as headaches, dizziness, heart problems, etc.
- Loss of appetite
- Sexual aversion
- Lack of empathy towards the child
- Feelings of shame and guilt
- Isolation and loneliness
Postpartum psychosis: What is it?
Postpartum psychosis is the most severe form of postpartum depression. It occurs very rarely. About 0.1 to 0.3 percent – one to three in one thousand mothers – are affected. This is a severe depression in which, in addition to symptoms of postpartum depression, there are also characteristics of a psychosis. This includes changes in personality and behaviour that can pose an acute danger to mother and child. Postpartum psychosis is therefore always a medical emergency that should be treated inpatient as quickly as possible.
What are the symptoms of postpartum psychosis?
The first signs of postpartum psychosis usually appear within the first six weeks after childbirth. In addition to the typical characteristics of postpartum depression, such as deep sadness, indifference, lack of drive, anxiety, etc., there are also symptoms of psychosis. These include:
- Severe anxiety
- Obsessive thoughts of harming yourself or the child
- Thoughts of suicide
Causes of postpartum depression
It is still not fully understood how postpartum depression or postpartum psychosis develops. What is certain, however, is that there is no sole cause responsible for the disease, but that various factors have to come together for postpartum depression to develop. These include:
Biological risk factors
- Hormonal changes
Major hormonal changes after birth are an important factor in the development of postpartum depression. Among other things, the concentration of the female sex hormones progestin and oestrogen drops sharply. But since oestrogen in particular has a stabilising and mood-lifting effect in the brain, the sudden drop in hormones often appears as a depressed mood. Most women are already familiar with such mood swings in a much milder form from hormone changes within the menstrual cycle. Women who are particularly sensitive to hormonal changes, e.g. if they suffer from premenstrual dysphoric syndrome or who also react to the use of hormonal contraceptives with mood swings, are at an increased risk of developing postpartum depression.
- Sleep deprivation
The birth and subsequent care of a baby are extremely exhausting. Many women suffer from vast sleep deprivation, which can lead to physical and mental exhaustion as well as metabolic imbalances. In addition, there are frequent uncertainties and excessive demands from the new situation, the new role, the change in the partnership and the constant worry of getting everything right.
Pre-existing conditions as a risk factor
Previous mental illnesses and depression, psychosis and anxiety disorders during pregnancy are also considered significant risk factors. According to a study from 20061), women with untreated depression during pregnancy have a 7-time higher risk of developing postpartum depression after giving birth.
1) Ross LE, McLean LM, Psych C. Anxiety disorders during pregnancy and postpartum period: a systematic review. Depression 2006; 6: 1-14
Social risk factors
Another risk factor for the development of postpartum depression is a low level of support from the partner and the social environment or even domestic violence, a previous separation or divorce, an unwanted pregnancy, twin and multiple births as well as health problems in the child or screaming children.
Trauma as a risk factor
A traumatic birth experience, traumatic experiences and neglect in one’s own childhood, the death of a loved one during pregnancy as well as other burdens and critical life events can also promote the development of postnatal depression.
Postpartum depression: Consequences for mother and child
A mother who cannot be happy about her child is still considered taboo in society. Affected mothers therefore often do not dare to talk about their problems. The clinical picture of postpartum depression is therefore often recognised late and accordingly, often treated late. This creates a persistently high level of suffering for the mother, which in the worst case can lead to suicide or even extended suicide. The child may experience problems sleeping and thriving, nipple confusion, behavioural problems and attachment disorders. In the long term, disturbances in emotional and cognitive development can also occur, which can affect adulthood.
Common comorbidities of postpartum depression
In addition to or together with postpartum depression, other psychological comorbidities can occur. Above all, these include:
Along with general fears, there are often exaggerated fears about the well-being of the baby as well as massive fears and self-doubts about being able to take care of the child properly. This can also lead to panic attacks.
– Obsessive-compulsive disorder
It is not rare for compulsive actions with constant cleaning and disinfecting to occur in conjunction with postpartum depression, in addition to frightening obsessive thoughts about the person affected harming themselves and the child.
Therapy: How is postpartum depression treated?
The clinical picture of postpartum depression is extremely complex – on the one hand, in terms of its causes and severity, but on the other hand, the symptoms and concomitant diseases. What makes the therapy more difficult is that not only does the sick mother have to be treated, but above all the relationship with the child needs to be improved and normalised. Conventional medicine provides for the use of psychotherapy, help and relief in everyday life as well as the use of psychiatric drugs.
However, the use of medication can be problematic for breastfeeding mothers because most of the active ingredients can pass into breast milk.
We offer you an alternative!
The CALDA Postpartum Depression Program is a therapy programme specially developed for women with postpartum depression that, wherever possible, works without the use of psychiatric drugs!
CALDA Concept: We help you to enjoy your time with the baby again!
As a client of the CALDA Clinic, you can of course bring your baby with you at any time. That is even especially desired. All of our luxurious residences are optimally prepared for the special needs of mothers with children. During the entire stay, your child will be lovingly looked after and cared for by a specially trained paediatric nurse around the clock, while you will receive the individually tailored 1:1 therapy according to the CALDA Postpartum Depression Program.
This is a tailor-made and highly effective precision therapy that is holistically oriented: Scientifically-based methods from classical medicine are combined with specially tested treatment methods from complementary medicine, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and orthomolecular medicine.
Your baby is always with you!
Of course, whenever possible, we include the baby in your therapy or adapt things to you accordingly. In this way, the loving relationship between you and your child can be further improved and deepened in the long term.
Your advantage: Treatment with the CALDA Concept works very effectively on different levels of the organism and is extremely solution-oriented. As a result, amazing results can be achieved within a short time – and usually without the use of psychiatric drugs!
The CALDA Concept
Our motto and our promise to you:
We treat the causes, not the symptoms!
Wherever possible, we work without the use of psychiatric drugs!
We dedicate our time and our entire expertise exclusively to one single client.
The CALDA Concept: Every therapy starts with the correct diagnosis
Every treatment according to the CALDA Concept is based on a comprehensive and extremely detailed diagnosis. This is the only way to meticulously uncover and specifically treat the underlying causes and disease contexts, which unfortunately often otherwise remain hidden.
The CALDA Concept: Our expertise for your health!
You can read about all the advantages, content and processes of the CALDA Concept here.
You can also find out more about the contents of the various programmes of the CALDA Concept here in detail.
If you are experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression, we recommend that you participate in the CALDA Postpartum Depression Program.