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Postpartum Depression/Anxiety Specialist

Carolina Wellness Psychiatry, PLLC

Psychiatrists serving Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina

At Carolina Wellness Psychiatry, PLLC, Elizabeth Bullard, MD, has specialized experience in the diagnosis and treatment of perinatal mood disorders, including depression during pregnancy as well as postpartum depression/anxiety. If you struggle with postpartum depression and/or anxiety, don’t delay. Call the office or schedule an appointment online today.

Postpartum Depression/Anxiety Q & A

What is postpartum depression?

Most new mothers experience “baby blues”, which include mood swings, crying spells, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping. Baby blues are mild and only last a week or two before your mood stabilizes.  

Postpartum depression, however, is a serious complication of pregnancy and affects up to 15% of new mothers. Symptoms, which are more intense and long-lasting, can develop within one year of childbirth, but typically appear within the first 4-6 weeks.  

What symptoms develop due to postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression often presents with symptoms that are more akin to anxiety than depression.  Women are often hesitant to seek help and often suffer alone with their symptoms. Postpartum depression can impact attachment with the newborn and can have longer-term consequences on healthy child development behaviors.

Symptoms of postpartum depression may include:

  • Severe anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Ruminating and obsessive thoughts
  • Fears of hurting the newborn
  • Lack of interest in the newborn
  • Feeling sad, hopeless, or worthless
  • Crying for no apparent reason
  • Disturbance in appetite
  • Disturbance in sleep
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability or anger
  • Fatigue or sluggishness

How do you treat postpartum depression and/or anxiety?

Postpartum depression can be successfully treated.  The treatment of postpartum depression/anxiety generally includes individual or family therapy and education, medication management, and strategies to increase support for the new mother.  

The choice to use medication DOES NOT impact the ability to breastfeed, and the current standard of care medication is endorsed by both the fields of psychiatry and OB/GYN.  

Your physician will complete a comprehensive assessment of symptoms to determine if medication treatment is warranted.  Risks and benefits of using medication during pregnancy or lactation will be weighed and discussed, and then further weighed against the risks associated with untreated maternal depression.  Psychotherapy is also generally recommended and may include individual, group, or family therapy.  

To get help for postpartum depression and/or anxiety, call Carolina Wellness Psychiatry, PLLC, or schedule an appointment online.