Does your postpartum depression feeling endless? You’re not alone. Learn more about the common signs of PPD, when it shows up, how long It lasts, and what you can do about it.
How long does postpartum depression last?
As you might expect the answer to this question varies. Even so, let’s take a clinical look at the presentation, duration, and treatment of postpartum depression. Let’s also take a dive into why this can be so devastating.
What is postpartum depression(PPD)?
PPD is a form of depressive mood disorder that presents after the end of pregnancy. It is defined as such to include women who have miscarried or had an abortion. If you were pregnant for any period of time and are no longer pregnant you meet criteria Symptoms may include:
- Sad or depressed Mood
- Frequent crying spells
- Difficulty bonding with your baby
- Panic and anxiety
- Fatigue and difficulty sleeping
- Loss of interest
- Lack of motivation
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Thoughts of death
How soon does it show up?
Postpartum depression may not show up in the weeks after birth. Many women begin to experience symptoms in the months after birth and then struggle to properly identify the symptoms. Symptoms can show up as soon as right after birth until anywhere throughout the 12 months preceding birth. For the majority of women it will present within 3-6 months of birth, child loss, or abortion.
How long will postpartum depression stick around?
This is the tough question. If you’ve arrived here its likely that your depression has begun to feel endless. You may find yourself wondering if this feeling will ever pass. It will. And the symptoms often began to ease away slowly and before you know it you’ll wake up one day and realize that you’re okay. That you’ve made it through. Similar to the onset, postpartum depression typically lasts less than 6 months. Much of this depends on the circumstances of your depression and whether there are stressors.
Common stressors that can increase the severity or duration of your symptoms are relationship loss, isolation, loneliness, financial stressors, or single motherhood. However, there are unique ways to address each of these stressors in a way that will allow you to heal and walk forward with confidence and renewed strength.
It is also possible for postpartum depression to transition into a major depressive disorder or for it to interact with previous mental health diagnosis. If you have a regular provider discuss how these might interact.
Postpartum Depression Treatment
The good news is your PPD is treatable. It is not something that you have to suffer through alone or ride out. One of the most effective interventions is talk therapy. Cognitive behavioral talk therapy can help you get at that negative inner dialogue and any associated shame and guilt .It can help you develop healthy coping skills to make it through tough days.
There are some cases where medication is indicated to treat postpartum depression. If you have questions about medication management reach out to your primary care provider or schedule an appointment with a psychiatrist.
When to seek help
In some cases postpartum depression will run its course. For some women it can last for a shorter period of time or have a lower severity. We might refer to this as mild or moderate presentation. In these cases you may choose to seek help or you may choose to lean into your natural supports. You can receive wellness focused postpartum depression treatment through Family Wellness Counseling
In other cases, treatment is absolutely necessary. Postpartum depression can lead to suicidal or homocidal thoughts. If you’ve had thoughts of harming yourself or someone else please reach out for postpartum treatment through a therapist or support through postpartum support International. Postpartum support international (PSI) has a 24/7 help line and can also help you connect with local resources.