Women’s Behavioral Health Issues
Women’s health is an area of medicine that receives too little attention. Often, women suffer in silence, combating symptoms on their own without seeking professional help. In fact, an estimated one in five women will cope with clinical depression at some point in her life without seeking professional help or guidance. Daily responsibilities and societal expectations can leave women feeling isolated, alone, and unable to pursue treatment.
At Family Psychiatry and Therapy, women will find the supportive environment they need to overcome depression, seek treatment for anxiety, and receive help for other behavioral health disorders. Our facility commonly provides:
- Preconception evaluation and counseling
- Comprehensive psychiatric assessment
- Psychiatric consultation regarding the use of medication in pregnancy and postpartum period
- Individual psychotherapy and counseling
- Couples therapy
- Stress and coping
- And more
Each woman’s needs are unique, and our experienced practitioners will work with each patient to create a treatment protocol that works for them.
Preparing for Pregnancy
Many people regard pregnancy as one of the happiest times in a woman’s life. While this is the case for many women, some find the period overwhelming and struggle to cope with the increased demands on their time, body, and personal freedom. Caring for a new life is a tremendous responsibility, and if an expecting or new mother experiences anxiety about raising a child or struggles with depression, they’re certainly not alone.
Depression during pregnancy is common, particularly for women who are concerned that having a child will result in a significant intrusion on their hobbies and lifestyles. Dr. Miller works with each woman to develop a series of personalized coping strategies and is happy to discuss other treatment options if necessary.
Rather than suffering in silence, pregnant women who feel anxious or depressed should seek help quickly. The longer they struggle with these feelings on their own, the more likely it is that they’ll develop depression or anxiety after the birth of their child. Seeking treatment in the early stages of pregnancy gives new mothers the skills and strategies they need to avoid becoming overwhelmed with stress and anxiety.
Pregnancy Brings out Past Issues
It’s not uncommon for pregnant women to suddenly feel the need to confront past issues. If they experienced anxiety as a young adult, the sudden change in their lives may bring those feelings to the surface. Parenting places new demands on mothers, and any underlying feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression can come to the forefront during pregnancy.
If a pregnant woman suffered abuse at the hands of a caregiver or parent, the experiences might lead to depression as the thought of having a child causes those memories to surface. For women struggling with these feelings, it is important to seek professional help quickly. Overcoming depression is a long-term struggle for many patients, but with the right treatments and coping techniques, it is entirely possible to live a happy and healthy life.
A new mother’s struggle with anxiety and depression may not end after her child is born. For many new mothers, postpartum depression is a fact of life. An estimated 10 to 15 percent of new mothers experience depression after giving birth, and the experience can interrupt their ability to take care of their new child.
Symptoms of postpartum depression will vary from mother to mother, but common signs include:
- Struggling to bond with the child
- Lack of desire to socialize or participate in hobbies
- Panic attacks and periods of severe anxiety
- Insomnia and loss of appetite
- Rapid mood swings
- Irritability and bouts of irrational anger
- Fear of inadequacy as a mother
Postpartum depression can last for months when untreated. Seeking help from an experienced psychiatrist is essential to help the mother regain control of her life and embrace the joys that a new child can bring.
Each situation is different, and the treatment protocol will vary from patient to patient. Some mothers will benefit from individual therapy sessions while others may see significant improvement with the use of medication and other treatment strategies. New mothers who believe they have postpartum depression should seek professional help as soon as possible. The sooner treatment begins, the better.
The Importance of Teamwork
Women experience life differently than men, so finding a therapist who understands that treatment will differ between the sexes is vital to seeing improvement. Individual therapy will help new mothers handle parenting challenges without succumbing to stress and anxiety. However, for some parents, the stress and anxiety is mutual. For these families, couples therapy may help strengthen the relationship and facilitate teamwork and communication when it comes to raising a child.
The last thing any new parent wants to experience is feelings of isolation. By working with the couple and helping individuals express their concerns, their hopes, and their needs, a therapist will help the parents develop the tools they need to be a successful team.
If the mother experiences postpartum depression or anxiety during pregnancy, couples therapy will help the partner better understand the mother’s concerns and give them the tools and techniques they need to become a better pillar of support. Therapy will open lines of communication between the partners and may help individuals recognize areas of their relationship that need improvement. Without clear communication, the couple may struggle to be consistent with discipline and one partner may feel undervalued or ignored.
Continued Support After Birth
Parenting is a long-term process, and therapy may be beneficial for both mothers and fathers long after the postpartum period has ended. No matter how many ideas a mother has about how they’ll raise their child, challenges will come up. These obstacles can be a source of anxiety and stress for many new parents. Working with a licensed therapist can help new parents overcome these harmful feelings together.
Each new challenge has the potential to bring out new stress responses and bouts of anxiety. Working with a therapist (even after the child is born) will help new parents confront these issues and find ways to overcome challenges and stress triggers without resorting to frustration or anger. It will keep the lines of communication open between the partners and facilitate dialogue about where each parent needs help and the struggles they face on their own.
Finding a Therapist
Finding a therapist does not have to be a difficult process. New mothers should look for a therapist experienced in treating pregnancy-related issues and postpartum depression since the signs and symptoms of depression may differ for each stage.
Dr. Miller and her team specialize in treating new and expecting mothers coping with pregnancy-related anxiety and postpartum depression. They tailor each treatment protocol to the individual patient rather than relying on a standard procedure for every woman. Her aim is to help mothers handle the stress and anxiety associated with raising a child by providing continuous support for as long as necessary.
Schedule a consultation and individual assessment with us today to get the help and support you deserve.
To seek the help you need and learn more about a treatment plan that can help you, contact our office today at 201-977-2889.