Talk Therapy For Postpartum Depression ?
Q: Women with postpartum depression may not wish to be
treated with antidepressant drugs, especially if they are
breast-feeding. This is one of the few studies to assess the
effectiveness of psychotherapy as an alternative.
A:Prolonged postpartum depression creates a strain on the mother's relationship with her new baby, spouse, the baby's older siblings, friends and co-workers. Researchers at the University of Iowa studied the effects of psychotherapy on 99 postpartum women with major depression. These women were predominantly white, well-educated and in stable marital relationships. The researchers randomly assigned the women either to 12 weeks of psychotherapy or to a waiting list for psychotherapy. About 40 percent of the women who received psychotherapy recovered from their depression by the end of the 12 weeks, compared to only about 14 percent of those on the waiting list. The results may not apply to other ethnic groups, less-educated women or those with unstable marital relationships. Also, the recovery statistics are based on answers to several psychological tests that assess depression; these answers could have been influenced by whether the women had received treatment or not. In addition, the authors point out that the women on the waiting list cannot be considered a real control group. Women with postpartum depression should receive treatment as quickly as possible. Psychotherapy is an effective option for those who wish to avoid antidepressants.
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