A GoodTherapy.org News Summary
After the stresses of pregnancy and birth and the approaching responsibilities of motherhood, having a child can produce a fair amount of anxiety and depression, even in those new mothers who experience joy in connection with their child. In the modern climate of pharmaceutical breakthroughs, this Post-Partum Depression is often shrugged off as a pesky result of some pregnancies, and treated with a regimen of anti-depressants or other drugs. But two new studies performed by the University of Toronto in Canada and the University of Huddersfield in the United Kingdom suggest that cognitive behavioral therapy can be a more effective tool in the struggle against PPD, and is significantly more successful in alleviating depressed feelings among new mothers than traditional post-natal medical care alone.
The University of Toronto study focused on new mothers with Post-Partum Depression over periods of six and twelve months. The women were given short, one-hour sessions with a cognitive behavioral therapist once a week for a period of eight weeks, while the control group was attended to by means of usual medical care, without the benefit of therapy. After a period of six months, many women who participated in therapy sessions reported a drop or cessation of symptoms, and this was significantly compounded at the one-year mark. What’s more, those women who reported feelings of depression six weeks following delivery were less than half as likely to report the same symptoms at six months as those mothers who received traditional care.
Additionally, the University of Huddersfield study selected pregnant women at a high risk of developing PPD, and supplied them with regular communication with other, experienced mothers via telephone. This tactic resulted in a halving of diagnosed cases among the study group following birth. Whether implemented during pregnancy or after the baby is brought home, one thing is made clear by these studies, both published this week: talking it out may be the best medicine.
© Copyright 2009 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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