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Postpartum Depression & Anxiety

Postpartum Depression (PPD) is a disorder that affects between 10-20% of new mothers. Women with PPD often experience extreme sadness, frequent crying spells, feelings of anger/irritability, anxiety, panic attacks, feelings of inadequacy and guilt. This constellation of symptoms makes it difficult for affected women to complete daily activities, and care for themselves and their families. PPD, which differs in severity and duration from "baby blues," commonly begins between a week or month following delivery, but can occur at any time during the first year after childbirth. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to be particularly effective in treating PPD.

Therapeutic intervention is individualized based on diagnostic assessment, but often focuses on:

** Creating awareness of PPD---what it is and why it happens.

** Managing anxiety about the ability to care for a newborn.

** Redefining self-identity---"Who I was versus Who I am."

** Managing stress by defining realistic expectations for self and others.

** Restructuring existing thought patterns that increase feelings of guilt, anxiety, and


** Developing coping strategies to help manage anxiety and panic attacks.

** Building communication skills surrounding emotions and individual needs.

** Developing self-care and wellness strategies.

** Providing family support and education, including joint sessions with spouse or partner,

        when appropriate.

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