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Treating Post Natal Depression in London

Efficacy’s Cognitive Behavioural therapists, based in centres across London & Sevenoaks, are experts and highly training in delivering CBT treatments to help you treat post natal depression.

Post natal depression (PND) is the term used to describe depression when it occurs following the birth of a baby. Despite different theories as to why it occurs, no single reason has been identified. However, becoming a mother is a major and challenging life change and expectations that maternal instinct will be ‘natural’ and that all will be ‘perfect’ can leave women vulnerable to developing an episode of depression if all does not go as expected. Post natal depression is also more likely to occur if someone has a previous history of depression or have had recent life stresses. However it can also start for no obvious reason in women without previous experience of a mental health difficulty (The Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2007).

Ante natal depression (AND) is the term used to describe depression when it occurs during pregnancy. Symptoms experienced are similar to those in PND, however in AND women may experience more anxiety about the impending birth and new role of motherhood.

Common Features

Symptoms can include the following; low mood, increased irritability, reduced energy, reduced interest and enjoyment, anxiety, tearfulness, guilt, sleep and appetite changes, lethargy, reduced interest in sex, excessive worry about baby (i.e weight gain, health, development), difficulties bonding with baby, low self-esteem, feeling overwhelmed, doubts about abilities as a mother and with coping generally (i.e. with everyday tasks).

Treatment Options

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is the treatment of choice for women experiencing depression in the antenatal and postnatal periods (Nice 2007). Therapy sessions will aim to help women examine thoughts and themes specifically relating to pregnancy and motherhood (these may have become negative, extreme, and unhelpful as a consequence of depression). Therapy helps to examine the impact of these thoughts on the person’s emotional state and behavioural responses which may have also become unhelpful, maintaining a depressive cycle.

Medication – Many women are naturally apprehensive about taking medication during pregnancy or if they are breastfeeding. However, depending on the severity of symptoms experienced and the individuals treatment choice a combination of therapy and anti-depressant medication can be used if necessary. There are national prescribing guidelines that take into account all the available evidence and information into the safety of taking anti-depressant medication during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding (Nice 2007).

Evidence Base

Cognitive behaviour therapy is effective in adults and has been shown to reduce symptoms, improve function and improve quality of life. CBT aims to change the way one thinks, behaves and feels, so one learns to identify the thoughts and feelings that are causing certain behaviours. CBT helps to manage the emotional impact of the fatigue and related symptoms. (NICE Guidance, 2009)

If you would like to find out more or book an assessment in London then call on the number below or complete the online contact form.

Telephone: 020 7929 7911