How to Overcome Postpartum Disorder

Medically reviewed by Dr. Mark Hrymoc, M.D.

Women, men, and adoptive parents can experience some postpartum depression (PPD). According to research, one in seven women who give birth will experience PPD. Symptoms vary depending on the specific type of PPD. All types can be overwhelming and take away from the joy of new parenthood. Postpartum disorders have been well-researched, and there are many treatments available. With help, you can make a full recovery.

Keep reading to learn how your symptoms compare to the various types of postpartum disorders, why you are experiencing symptoms when others are not, and how to overcome postpartum disorders.

Understanding How to Overcome Postpartum Disorder

The more knowledge you have about PPD, the more power you can have over it. Learning about the various types of postpartum disorders is a significant first step in overcoming your symptoms. Below is a brief overview of the types:

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression can range from baby blues to severe depression. Baby blues can last a couple of weeks, with feelings of sadness, irritability, and fatigue that usually fade after a couple of weeks. If symptoms persist and worsen, you may be dealing with depression.

Postpartum Psychosis

With postpartum psychosis, you may experience hallucinations, delusions, mood swings, paranoia, restlessness, and confusion.

Postpartum Anxiety

Symptoms associated with postpartum anxiety disorder include worrying excessively about your newborn, an overall sense of dread, panic attacks, overwhelming stress, sleep disturbances, jittery or shakiness, nausea, and changes in heart rate.

Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (POCD)

POCD is another form of anxiety that creates intrusive thoughts and fears about your newborn, like fear of being alone with the baby. Some people repeat actions as a way of reducing fears. Moms may have unusual thoughts or worries that they will harm their babies but rarely act on those thoughts.

Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PPTSD)

You may experience a change in appetite and sleep in all the disorders. You may, at times, feel helpless or hopeless. Some have noted feeling like they want to harm themselves or someone else since irrational thinking and trouble thinking clearly are signs of PPD. You should seek help immediately if you have thoughts like this. 

Some deliveries can be complicated. Some even result in the loss of a child. Trauma during childbirth can cause a person to have flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia, anxiety, and the desire to isolate from people.

Who Gets Postpartum Disorders?

Ever wonder why some people experience postpartum disorder and others seem to have no struggles at all? The reason has to do with the risk factors associated with PPD. Risk factors make it more likely that you will get something. With PPD, risk factors include the following:

  • Having a mental health disorder before getting pregnant or during pregnancy
  • History of mental health issues (yours and your family)
  • Recent stressors, such as finances, childcare, job changes, etc., due to pregnancy
  • Lack of social support
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor relationship with a partner
  • Baby’s temperament

Your risk factors may be completely different than someone else’s. The more risk factors you have, the more likely you will experience PPD. It is crucial to seek help to reduce risk factors before you get pregnant or as soon as possible.

How is Postpartum Disorder Treated?

Mental health professionals create a treatment plan involving multiple methods to give you the highest chances for success. Most professionals use a combination of medication, cognitive and behavioral therapy, post-trauma therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and alternative therapies to provide the best results.

In addition, advanced treatments may be used to treat PPD symptoms that do not fade with traditional methods. Ketamine therapy for depression is one example, though breastfeeding mothers are not candidates for this treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How soon can I meet with a mental health professional?

Calling a local treatment center, like the Mental Health Center, means you can talk to a staff member, describe your symptoms, and make an appointment. Let them know if you are okay with meeting through their online platform. Sometimes telehealth has more available times than in-person meetings. If you feel like you want to harm yourself or someone else, call 911 immediately for help.

How soon will I start feeling better?

Every person responds differently to treatment. However, many experience benefits after the first meeting with a mental health professional. Medications full effects can take several weeks to reach peak effectiveness. You can learn coping skills that help you ease symptoms in the first session.

What can I do to ensure my treatment works?

There are steps you can take to improve your treatment outcomes. Follow your treatment plan, and don’t stop taking your medication without the help of your doctor. Attend therapy sessions and participate. Eat a healthy diet, include exercise in your daily routine, and make self-care a priority. Avoid misusing alcohol or other substances, get quality sleep every night, and don’t rush progress.

Getting Help

Overcoming postpartum disorders without the help of a mental health professional is challenging and, for some, impossible. The longer symptoms go untreated, the worse they may become. Working with professionals means you can access resources that support recovery, like postpartum support groups, family therapy, and psychoeducation for you and your family. Mental Health Center provides these resources, medication, and alternative resources in one location. 


Postpartum disorders are more common than you may think. Many new parents understand how frustrating it can be to want to enjoy being a parent but not be able to because of postpartum symptoms. With help, you can create happy memories with your new baby.

Contact Mental Health Center located at the Cedars-Sinai East Tower today to learn how to overcome postpartum disorders.