What If I Have to Take Medication to Feel Better?
One of the ironies of struggling with PPD (and many other forms of depression and anxiety) is that you fear the very medications that might offer you the greatest relief. Although no one should take medication without having questions and concerns addressed, you need not fear taking the medicine if your PPD is disruptive enough to warrant it!
Bear in mind:
• Medication will not change your personality. It is the depression and anxiety that changes who you are, not the medication.
• You will not always be on medication. The medication is only to help you through a difficult period. Going off the meds is always a conversation to have with your therapist/doctor when the time is right. Some women decide to stay on medication.
• You will not become addicted to the medication. The medications commonly prescribed for most forms of depression and anxiety are not addictive or habit-forming, as long as you take the medication as prescribed by your physician.
• You will be able to manage side effects. Every medication (including aspirin) has side effects. Some are more significant than others. If you do experience unwanted side effects with one medication, you can try another. The bottom line is that concern about side effects should not keep you from the advantage of the relief and benefits that medication might bring you.
• It will take a few days (up to a couple of weeks) for you to experience the full benefit of some medications. However, there should be incremental improvement along the way. Without even noticing it at first, you might suddenly realize that:
You aren’t crying all the time
You’re in the kitchen preparing meals for yourself and your family
Someone comments on what a nice smile you have
You feel a bit more patient than you’ve felt in a while
You recognize the real you again!
The thoughts slowly diminish, and the anxiety and panicky feelings occur less frequently
*If you are concerned about breastfeeding and taking medications: This is a commonly felt dilemma that you and a trained professional will be able to talk through to make the best informed decision for yourself and baby!
Are There Ways to Treat PPD Without Taking Meds?
Yes, there are other ways to treat PPD aside from medication. But this is something that should be explored with a trained professional who can recognize symptoms of PPD and how to manage your situation best, taking into account your history and severity.
Below are some alternate treatment methods:*
* Light therapy
* Massage, acupuncture, relaxation techniques
* EMDR (eye desensitization and reprocessing — an integrative psychotherapy approach)
* ECT (electroconvulsive therapy — for more severe cases)
* Support groups/psychoeducational groups
* Herbal supplements
*(By no means is this an endorsement of any treatment — these are just some alternative options to be explored. All have benefits and drawbacks that need to be addressed when deciding which treatment plan is best for you. Please have an evaluation/consultation with a trained professional.)
If you have found that the insights and suggestions on my website have not fully answered your questions or helped you to feel better, please don’t hesitate to contact me, Laura Bonsera, directly (see Contact Us page).
Remember, you are not in this alone. You will not always feel this way. Everything will be all right!