Is post-partum depression a trigger for addiction

Is post-partum depression a trigger for addiction

According to the data released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in the United States, 11-20 percent of new mothers have postpartum depression disorder (PPD). This figure, however, does not take into account the number of women who suffer miscarriage or deliver stillborn babies. Hence, it is estimated that the actual number of women with PPD can be even higher, if all kinds of pregnancies are taken into account. 

Studies have shown that PPD can set the stage for addiction in the long run. For instance, a woman with an undiagnosed condition may depend heavily on sleeping pills to sleep or to feel calm, however, this habit can easily take the form of dependence, addiction and even an overdose. Similarly, a woman with a history of substance abuse or alcoholism is also susceptible to a relapse, if she suffers from PPD.

Adverse effects of PPD and addiction on infants

Women with PPD and addiction can do significant damage to their vulnerable newborn babies. When such women consume alcohol or drugs before breastfeeding their babies, they indirectly expose them to addiction, which can cause a lot of discomfort and distress in infants. Children born to amphetamine-addicted mothers may experience irritability and difficulty in sleeping. Further, when cocaine reaches a child’s bloodstream, it can induce diarrhea, and even cause seizures. Similarly, when exposed to heroine, a baby can experience difficulty in feeding, tremors and restlessness. Moreover, depression might make a woman unsympathetic and less attached to her baby.

Coping mechanisms to prevent PPD and addiction

Taking care of a new born can be challenging, but, one can still manage it effectively by self-care and prior planning. Here a few self-help techniques which can prevent the occurrence of PPD and decrease one’s propensity to addiction:

  • Before childbirth, a woman must do a thorough planning, such as arranging for the baby’s clothes, toiletries, feed, bedding, etc., so that things are under control after delivery.
  • No matter how busy one gets after childbirth, 15-20 minutes must be devoted every single day toward a hobby, calling a close friend or reading something to revive the spirits.
  • A new mother must take rest when the child sleeps, to compensate for the sleep she has to let go because of the demanding baby.
  • A woman must ensure that she gets highly nutritious diet, drinks plenty of water and takes adequate supplements, post-delivery.
  • Many women feel depressed post-delivery because of excessive weight gain. This can be easily handled if one starts with 15 minutes of walking, few months after delivery. Physical exercise will not only help in getting back to shape but also enhance one’s mood.

Seeking professional help

Many new mothers suffering from mental disorders, such as PPD, take prescription or other illegal drugs to counter their symptoms, but soon discover that they are addicted to them. In such a situation, both mental disease and addiction tend to fuel each other, which makes it difficult for a therapist to disentangle one from the other and devise suitable remedies. Therefore, an integrated treatment approach is most desirable and must be sought when the depression symptoms become serious and chronic, and one gets addicted.

If you or your loved one is suffering from PPD and addiction, or co-occurring disorders, it is imperative to take the necessary medical help before matters go out of control. If you would like to know more about dual diagnosis rehab centers in your area, you may connect with the Dual Diagnosis Helpline. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-981-6047 to get in touch with the best dual diagnosis centers in your vicinity.