Health & wellness

Treatment options for postpartum depression

Treatment must be geared to the severity of the mother’s depression, her past history with mental illness, the amount of familial and social support she has, and her treatment preferences.

Among the treatments available:

Advertisement

Psychotherapy: Roughly 50 to 60 percent of women see a reduction in their depression symptoms with psychotherapy.

Antidepressant medication: Medication is an alternative if therapy is not effective or feasible. Medication risks must be balanced against the risks of depression. Again, 50 to 60 percent of women are helped by medication. Research suggests that no detectable amounts of sertraline (the generic name for Zoloft) and paroxetine (often sold as Paxil) are passed to the baby through breast milk.

Exercise: Research is being done to assess the effectiveness of exercise, shown to help with depression at other times of life, in treating postpartum depression.

Bright morning light therapy: Used to treat seasonal affective disorder, light therapy has been shown to be effective against depression during pregnancy and is now being studied in postpartum depression.

Hormonal therapy: Studies
in the mid-’90s suggested that the hormone estradiol offered promise against postpartum depression. More research is underway.

SOURCE: Dr. Katherine Wisner, Northwestern University

Loading comments...
You're reading  1 of 5 free articles.
Get UNLIMITED access for only 99¢ per week Subscribe Now >
You're reading1 of 5 free articles.Keep scrolling to see more articles recomended for you Subscribe now
We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to Globe.com for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.