There is No Shame in Struggling with Addiction and Postpartum Depression
Coming to terms with a drug or alcohol addiction is not easy for anyone. In fact, most women do not reach out for help until they are entirely beaten and broken. This is the tragic mistake of so many – that shame and guilt interfere so profoundly with making the decision to get sober.
It takes humility and rigorous honesty for someone battling an addiction to finally admit defeat. This is especially true of new moms who are experiencing an addiction to alcohol or drugs as the result of postpartum depression.
Quite often, women will unnecessarily and unfortunately suffer with postpartum and addiction because they are afraid to reach out for help. At New Directions for Women, we have created a safe space for moms to get the help they need.
What is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression is a clinically recognized mood disorder that affects women after pregnancy. It is not a sign of weakness or a lack of character. It is a legitimate medical condition.
Mothers with postpartum depression experience intense emotions that make it difficult for them to meet the duties and responsibilities of being a new mom. It can also cause a feeling of disconnection between a mother and her newborn. Also, many women have thoughts about harming themselves or their new baby as the result of this condition.
For most women, symptoms of postpartum typically show up within a few weeks after giving birth. However; some experience this condition while they are still pregnant or up to one full year after childbirth. Studies show that postpartum depression affects about one in nine women.
What Causes Postpartum Depression?
There is still a lot to be learned about what causes postpartum. We do know that it cannot be explained by a single cause. Most researchers believe postpartum is caused by a depletion of hormones like estrogen and progesterone coupled with physical and emotional factors.
This condition is NOT caused by something a mother does or does not do. It is not a reflection on a mother’s love for her newborn. Postpartum is a biological response to changes in the body that occur after childbirth.
Signs of Postpartum Depression
Here are just a few of the many symptoms of postpartum depression:
- Mood swings
- Uncontrollable crying
- Extreme fatigue
- Overwhelming and unexplainable sadness
- Being overwhelmed by your daily tasks
- Muscle aches
- Physical illness (stomach problems, headaches, etc.)
- Change in sleeping habits (not sleeping or sleeping too much)
- Change in appetite (eating too much or not enough)
- Withdrawal from important relationships
- A feeling of disconnection between mom and newborn
- Doubting one’s own ability to be a mother
- Suicidal thoughts
- Thoughts about harming the baby
Women may experience all of these symptoms or maybe just a few. If you are a new mom and you are having any of these difficulties, you may be experiencing postpartum. If so, you should reach out for help.
Are You Using Drugs or Alcohol to Cope With Post-Partum Depression?
It is not uncommon for women to turn to alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription painkillers to cope with the unpleasant feelings that accompany postpartum depression. This is completely understandable.
Having a newborn baby is a challenging endeavor all by itself. Add postpartum depression in the mix and coping can feel impossible. However; it is important to note that postpartum depression and using drugs and alcohol to cope do not mix well.
Using drugs or alcohol with never help you recover from postpartum depression. In fact, it only makes symptoms worse and prolongs the healing process. Plus, for the health of your newborn, you need to be alert, aware, and capable of meeting your daily responsibilities.
Of course, we should also mention that being high or drunk robs you of the first precious moments every mom wants to enjoy with her newborn baby. Drugs and alcohol might seem like a good, working solution now. But, chances are you will one day regret being intoxicated during the first few months of your baby’s life.
Signs You May Have a Problem With Addiction and Postpartum
If you think you may be suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction while trying to manage postpartum depression, we want you to ask yourself five questions:
- Are you using alcohol or drugs while breastfeeding?
- Are you hiding your drug or alcohol use from your loved ones?
- Is your drug or alcohol use preventing you from taking care of the basic needs of your newborn?
- Are you getting high or drunk while you are alone with your baby?
- Do you feel ashamed of your drug or alcohol use?
If you answered “yes” to any ONE of these questions, you may have a problem with addiction. Ideally, new moms should not take ANY drugs or drink ANY alcohol in the early days of their child’s infancy.
If you believe your substance use is out of control, we want you to get help. It is not your fault that you have postpartum depression and/or addiction. You should not be ashamed if your drug or alcohol use has gotten out of hand.
Many new moms turn to substances as a way to cope with postpartum depression. Substance use can quickly develop into abuse and then addiction. When this happens, professional substance use disorder treatment is necessary.
New Directions for Women is Here if You Want Help For Postpartum and Addiction
At New Directions for Women, we specialize in treating new moms who are struggling with postpartum depression and addiction. We are one of the few substance use disorder treatment programs in the country that welcomes new moms AND their children.
Our treatment center is run by women for women. Our compassionate and caring staff is sensitive to the needs of women who have a substance use disorder and postpartum. This is a judgment-free zone. We are only concerned about getting help for new moms and all women. We offer extensive services that address every level of care for addicted moms. This includes sober living.
If you are suffering from postpartum depression and addiction – or you know someone who is – you can get help now. No matter how desperate your situation may be, there is hope. We stand ready to help new moms heal so they can enjoy the experience of being a mother who loves and enjoys raising her newborn.
Afraid of addiction treatment? Check out the many benefits of getting professional help for substance use disorder.