The truth is, there’s no specific limit for how long postpartum depression lasts. There isn’t really even a common range of time. There are factors that can impact how long postpartum depression lasts in each individual case, but there’s no way to know for sure.
Speed of treatment
Several studies suggest that earlier treatment for PPD makes PPD goes away faster. Getting a diagnosis and working out a treatment plan are important first steps towards the end of PPD, and in many cases, the sooner you get started with treatment, the faster it’ll go.
Medication is an important part of many women’s PPD treatment plan, but figuring out the right prescription and the right dose can take a little trial and error.
- For starters, antidepressants usually start working in about three to four weeks, so it can take a little while to figure out if they’re helping.
- Secondly, healthcare providers generally start by prescribing lower doses and then raising them if necessary, so this adds a little time to the process.
- Third, while different SSRIs seem like they should all have the same effect, in practice, many people respond much better to one than to others, and there’s no scientific way of knowing ahead of time how everyone will respond to a specific medication.
- And fourth, in some cases, antidepressants work best for PPD when they’re supplemented by an antipsychotic.
Even if you’ve found the right combination of medications, PPD can still hang around for a while. But finding a combination of medications that works for your symptoms sooner can lead to a quicker end to PPD. This is why, if you’re concerned that a medication you’re taking isn’t working, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider about it, in case it’s a situation that might be improved by a medication adjustment.
Like any other illness, when it comes to PPD, you may need to take it easy for a while to let yourself heal. That’s not easy with a new baby, but when they work together, many families manage to figure out compromises that can leave some space for recovery from PPD. Not having the support you need can put a serious delay on recovery from PPD.
It’s never too late to talk about different types of support you might need or want from your support system, whether that means your partner, parents, siblings, close friends, or anyone else you call family.
Just like with any other medical problem, if you’re working with a healthcare provider or series of providers who you don’t mesh with, it can have an impact on your treatment. A healthcare provider you’re having trouble connecting with might not understand some symptoms, which can be hard to describe, and may be less likely to zero in on needed adjustments to treatment plans.
Furthermore, there’s the fact that people are more comfortable coming forward with new symptoms, and sharing information that’s personal but may be important, with doctors they trust.
Many PPD patients find treatment plans that work for them, and gradually find that PPD leaves their lives. In other cases, though, postpartum depression can be the beginning of a major depressive episode. Establish a connection with a mental health provider you trust. Your working relationship with them can be an important tool to have on your side if PPD lasts long enough to start to turn into something else.
- David McNamee. “How long does postpartum depression last?” Medical News Today. MediLexicon International Ltd., July 13 2015. Web.
- Charles Raison. “How long will my postpartum depression last?” CNN. Cable News Network, September 8 2009. Web.
- “This Month in the Archives of General Psychiatry.” Archives of General Psychiatry. 59(8): 685. Web. 2002.