There are a range of effective treatments and helpful services for managing PND. The earlier a woman seeks help, the faster she can recover. The type of treatment will vary according to the individual and the severity of the illness, but often a combination of treatments is most effective.The following information outline the main types of help available:
If you, or someone you care about, is in crisis and you think immediate action is needed, you can contact the services listed below for assistance.
- Emergency appointment with your local doctor (General Practitioner) check the White Pages for the phone number. You can find a GP in your area who has had extra training in mental health by looking at the beyondblue Find a Doctor List.
- Contact your local public hospital.
- Lifeline - 13 11 14
- Suicide Helpline Victoria - 1300 651 251
- Kids Help Line (free call) - 1800 55 1800
- Mensline - 1300 789 978
Psychological treatments which are often referred to as ‘Talking Therapies’ have generally been found to be the most effective way of treating PND. Psychological treatments can help by:
- changing negative thoughts and feelings
- encouraging involvement in activities
- speeding recovery
- preventing depression from getting serious again.
There are many different types of therapy that can help women manage postnatal depression including:Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
When people are depressed, they may think negatively about:
- themselves e.g. “I'm a failure.” “ No one loves me.”
- the world e.g. “There is nothing good out there.”
- the future e.g. “Things will never improve.”.
Negative thinking can make it hard for a depressed person to get better.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is a structured program which recognises that the way people think affects the way they feel. CBT helps people to recognise unhelpful and/or irrational thoughts and replace them with more realistic thoughts. CBT, which is often taught in groups, shows people how to think rationally about common difficulties. It also involves setting goals and planning activities.Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)
People with depression may sometimes be easily upset by other people's comments. They may feel criticised when no criticism was intended and as a result, feel that people are against them - so they stop joining in normal social activities. IPT helps people find new ways to get along with others.
Psychological therapies can also help families of people with depression find new ways of coping with difficult situations.There are a number of health professionals who may provide effective psychological treatment. These include:Psychologists
Psychologists are health professionals who provide psychological therapies and treatments for people experiencing a range of general psychological difficulties. Common effective types of psychological therapy are CBT and IPT. These are known as ‘Talking Therapies’. Psychologists (including clinical psychologists) are not medical doctors and cannot prescribe medication in Australia.Psychiatrists
Psychiatrists are doctors who specialise in mental health. They can make medical and psychological assessments, conduct medical tests and prescribe medication. Psychiatrists often use psychological treatments like CBT, IPT and/or prescribe medication.Medical Treatment
Psychological therapies like CBT and IPT can help some people reduce their symptoms of depression without the need for medication. However, medication can play an important role in helping people with depression manage from day to day.
Medical research indicates that when people become severely depressed, specific changes in the chemical message systems of the brain (serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine) occur. Antidepressant medication is designed to correct the imbalance of chemical messages between nerve cells (neurones) in the brain.
Antidepressant medications are safe, effective and not addictive. Some people may worry about how antidepressants will affect a baby who is breastfed. However, remaining on medication can be important in order to avoid significant depression which can have a negative impact for both mother and baby.
For women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, making a decision about whether or not to take an antidepressant can be difficult. The decision to take medication is up to the individual and should be made in consultation with a doctor, after considering the risks and benefits to both the mother and infant. Alternative Treatment
While there is research to suggest that some alternative treatments are effective in treating depression, there are extra considerations when breastfeeding. That is why alternative treatments should only be used to treat depression postnatally under the close supervision of a medical doctor. See this sheet for more information http://beyondblue.org.au/index.aspx?link_id=89.583&tmp=FileDownload&fid=2357
A person may now receive Medicare rebates for treatment of a mental disorder.
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