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Can Postpartum Depression Influence Substance Abuse?

It is commonly seen for a woman to suffer from postpartum depression and substance abuse. What is the correlation between the two? Does one cause the other? Exacerbate it? Is there help for someone who needs it? These questions are common in loved ones who are concerned for someone experiencing postpartum depression complicated by substance abuse. When someone is struggling, it can be difficult to treat them individually. Understanding what postpartum depression is, and how you can help someone you love through this experience, can help you to identify their need for help. If you are struggling with these things, the same holds true. You can decide to seek professional help to better your life, and regain the life you had before postpartum and substance abuse took over. 

What is Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression is a term used to describe depression that some new moms experience after childbirth. Usually, postpartum depression (or baby blues) begins two to three days after childbirth and symptoms tend to dissipate within two weeks. However, there are some instances where the symptoms are more severe and long lasting. These symptoms can include mood swings, uncontrollable and unprovoked crying, anxiety and insomnia. When these symptoms are more severe than the usual “baby blues,” it can be a difficult undertaking for those new moms going through them. Receiving proper treatment as soon as possible after exhibiting symptoms can make a world of difference in preventing long term effects of postpartum. 

How Does Postpartum Depression Affect Substance Abuse?

When someone suffers from postpartum depression and substance abuse it can make it extremely difficult to treat either disorder as an individual ailment. They may need to be treated as one disorder. Experiencing long term, severe symptoms of postpartum can sometimes lead someone to self medicate using drugs or alcohol in order to feel relief from some of these symptoms.

Once substance abuse begins, it can make it more difficult for the new mom to decide on seeking help for the depression associated with giving birth. There may be a fear of being reported to the authorities for seeking help. However, if you find yourself or a loved one struggling with substances as a result of postpartum depression, seeking help is the best course as beating an addiction without the help of medical and therapeutic professionals is extremely difficult. Being able to address both the postpartum depression and substance abuse can help you to regain control of both parts of your life. 

Tips for Helping Someone with Postpartum Depression and Substance Abuse

If you know of a family member or friend struggling with postpartum depression and substance abuse, you can help. Even if you feel lost on what you can do, just simply listening and talking with them can help. Encouraging them to get help for both disorders is highly suggested as one can be exponentially worsened by the other. 

Talk to Them

It can be a difficult conversation to have. When you notice a loved one is struggling with postpartum depression and substance abuse, addressing the fact that you know what is going on can seem like an uncomfortable topic. Chances are, it could be. But the odds of your loved one admitting it without this conversation may be slim. Talk with them, offer support, and help them to come to the realization that they may need help in order to get better.

Educate Yourself on the Subject

Learning everything that you can about the topic at hand can be your best weapon of defense. Listening to your loved one when they express what they are going through as well doing research on your own can teach you most of what you need to know on the subject matter at hand.

Get Them Help

Offer to do the legwork for them. Most people experience depression at some point in their lives and know how difficult it can be to do anything that can make them feel better. This included looking up resources. If they have you to help them find help for themselves, they are more likely to accept it, and begin to recover. 

Encourage Treatment

This can be the most beneficial thing you can do for the person struggling with postpartum depression and substance abuse. Offering them a way out of it, and a team of professionals to help them as they begin to heal, is the best gift you can give them.

Help for Substance Abuse in Nashville, TN

Substance abuse is a beast on its own. Factor in postpartum depression and it can be a whole different monster to make it through. There is help for both postpartum and substance abuse. If you or a loved one are struggling and in need of help, it is available. At Brentwood Springs we offer comprehensive and specialized care to treat the individual who comes to us for help. Contact us today and begin on your unique path to recovery.

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