Postpartum depression is more common than some people might imagine. It is said that about 70 to 80% of mothers experience some level of postpartum depression. Sadly, this reality is seldom talked about in society, highlighting how little attention is given to issues affecting women.
In addition, it seems that addiction and postpartum depression are sometimes linked. A new mom and family shouldn’t have to worry about these problems, yet there’s a strong link that warrants careful consideration.
On average, postpartum depression hits its peak within three months of giving birth. Around this time, women are more susceptible to addiction, and this is why NFA Behavioral Health wants to talk about it more in depth.
What Is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression is a kind of depression that hits women after they’ve given birth. The reason this happens deals with hormones. A woman’s body goes through a lot during and after birth, so there are bound to be some side effects.
Both estrogen and progesterone levels drop dramatically after you’ve given birth. This drop negatively affects new mothers, causing them to feel the blues. Keep in mind that while all of this is going on, you are probably dealing with a very demanding newborn.
The lack of sleep that mothers deal with on top of postpartum depression is a lot to handle. There’s only so much a mother can take. Some new moms anticipate this period of depression by enlisting help, but the reality is that you are still going to be overwhelmed.
As a new mother, you want to do your best to bond with your baby. To do this, you have to spend time with your newborn. You have to let your baby learn to recognize your scent. This is something no one else can do for you, so you can’t just ride these symptoms out until they go away.
The symptoms women experience with postpartum depression include the following:
– Feelings of impatience and irritability without reason
– Mild to extreme fatigue
– Mild to severe sadness
– Experiences with mood swings
– Trouble concentrating
– Sudden loss of interest in things that mattered to you
– No appetite or overly large appetite
– Trouble bonding with your newborn
– Withdrawal from those you care about
Some new moms lose confidence in their ability to mother. In extreme cases, some moms think of harming themselves or their babies.
If you are dealing with postpartum depression, the following are some steps you can take:
– You should do your best to talk to someone who understands what you are feeling. Ideally, you want to talk to another mother who might have gone through something similar. Do your best to talk to someone who will be sympathetic rather than dismissive.
– It is important that you maintain a well-balanced diet. Be sure to talk to your doctor about a diet that will help you with your hormones. Concentrate on proteins and foods with vitamin B complex.
– Consider keeping a journal where you can write about what you are going through. This may not seem like much, but it can be quite therapeutic.
– Try to go out as much as you can. Go to a park or nature reserve. A little bit of nature could go a long way toward lifting your mood.
Why Does Postpartum Depression Lead to Addiction?
Depending on the severity, postpartum depression can be overwhelming on a new mom. A lot is put on the shoulder of a mother even with a wonderful partner. A lot is expected of you, and those expectations cause tension if you don’t want to admit it.
The reason some women turn to substances like marijuana, prescription psychoactive drugs, cigarettes or alcohol is that these substances help them feel calm. When a person is feeling pressured and overwhelmed, that moment of peace is worth all the gold on earth.
When new mothers turn to drugs to feel better, the likelihood of the drug becoming a crutch is high. Some new moms have a hard time talking about this with others for various reasons. Some simply don’t want to burden others while other moms don’t feel comfortable talking about their thoughts.
This can be even harder because postpartum depression is not an issue most people know much about, which is something NFA Behavioral Health wants to help change for many mothers like you.
New Moms Are Most at Risk
Addiction recovery professionals have experience with addiction linked to postpartum depression. One thing that professionals have noticed is that many environmental circumstances could increase your chances of developing a dependency on a substance beyond the obvious one, which is access.
The following are some circumstances to be aware of that increase your risk of substance misuse.
No one wants to hear that the likelihood of a mother being unemployed is high, but that’s the truth. There are a lot of reasons a new mom could be unemployed. Some people might be unemployed because being pregnant is a difficult job already.
After birth, a woman’s body doesn’t quickly return to normal; healing takes some time. Finding or having the drive to look for a job after giving birth isn’t something mothers should be expected to do. Some do make the effort, but that doesn’t mean every mother can.
Still, the pressure of finding a job or the feeling of not having a job can get to a new mom. It’s an added pressure that makes things more difficult for a new mother who is already on the edge.
A mother who is not married or does not have a long-term partner could also be at risk. A new mother is going to be dealing with a lot, so having a supportive and loving partner can help immensely.
The problem is that some mothers are not in that situation. Maybe it is by choice or maybe it is not; the point is that you may not have much support. Postpartum depression along with the reality that you are facing this alone could be overwhelming.
These are just some environmental circumstances that can make things even more stressful for new moms.
Of course, there are other factors; new moms with past issues with substance use might have a moment of weakness and start to use a substance again.
Common Substances That New Mothers Abuse
– Alcohol may be used by new moms. Studies show that this substance is used by 30 to 49% of new moms.
– Cigarettes are sometimes used by new mothers.
– Marijuana is used by new mothers.
– Psychoactive drugs like opioids and stimulants are used by new moms.
– Some new mothers use cocaine.
Whether the reason is to feel better, elevate your mood or fall asleep, you may lose control over your substance use quickly. However, a new mother wants to do her best for her newborn. We know that deep down in your heart, you want to figure out a way to regain control, which we are here to help with.
What Can a New Mom Do to Regain Control?
Developing a dependence could put a new mother at risk, and it could put a newborn at risk too. Some new mothers are willing to wean babies off breast milk so that they can continue using whatever substance they’re using. On top of that, substance use can lead to some mental and physical impairment. If you are the primary caretaker of a newborn, then being in this state of mind is quite dangerous.
Mothers come to us with these concerns. Sometimes, becoming a parent is one of the biggest reasons a person will come to seek help from NFA Behavioral Health.
Finding a way to regain control is going to be an uphill battle, but we’ve seen this battle numerous times, and we know how to help you overcome it.
Loved ones might use your natural desire to be a good mother to stage an intervention, and it could be successful. Most parents want to do what they can for their children, and if that means overcoming addiction, then that is what they’ll attempt to do.
Note that addiction is not easy to overcome without support. The professional support you can get from NFA Behavioral Health helps, but it may be a good idea to also get support from friends and family members during these challenging times.
Professional treatment will likely include everything from cognitive behavioral therapy to individual counseling along with group therapy. One thing that could make a great difference is group therapy. The truth is that there are a lot of mothers who’ve had similar experiences. Hearing and learning from them could be incredibly helpful in your recovery.
The support from other mothers could give you a sense of belonging and show you that you aren’t alone. Feeling like you are the only mother feeling overwhelmed could push you further into this type of depression and toward substance abuse. Depending on your personality, it may be difficult to open up to others or even ask for help. We know that society tells you that parents should be able to face all challenges alone, but there are some circumstances you shouldn’t face without help.
At NFA Behavioral Health, we know how effective group therapy can be for substance abuse, but we also place a great deal of importance on cognitive behavioral therapy. New moms face all sorts of difficulties, and these difficulties can easily become triggers for someone dealing with substance abuse. Having child being difficult, having to wake up in the middle of the night and experiencing numerous stresses of motherhood could trigger you.
This is something we address with cognitive behavioral therapy. You’ll learn not only how to recognize triggers but find ways to avoid these triggers or overcome them as they come.
A big part of this journey is early childhood training. There are many things a new parent doesn’t know about caring for a newborn. The things you don’t know could end up becoming stressors, and you don’t want those right now. Early childhood training will teach you techniques that will help you calm a child down, for example. You’ll learn how to help a baby sleep through the night.
The more you know about raising your newborn properly, the more control you’ll have. Feeling like you are in control is quite powerful; it could make your new role as a mother feel more manageable. We want you to feel in control because that means you are less likely to turn to drugs when you feel overwhelmed.
Get on the Road Toward Overcoming Substance Abuse With the Right Team
You will need to talk to us about our treatment plans if you are dealing with substance abuse, and the sooner you do it, the better. NFA Behavioral Health is filled with experienced specialists who are sensitive to what you are going through.
We will do our best to involve everyone in your life in your recovery. A big part of our work is making sure we find the right approach for you and the right team. There are several therapies we can use to help you overcome this problem, so we’ll see which one you respond to best. We are also going to ensure that you can connect with our team of professionals because forming a genuine connection helps everyone involved. Things are easier when you trust who you are working with.
Give NFA Behavioral Health a call to find out more about our rehabilitation program and how we can help you be the mother you want to be.