Consulting psychiatrist Carol Lynn Childers works for Trilogy Behavioral Healthcare, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that provides services for individuals with serious mental illnesses. Dr. Carol Lynn Childers also serves as a consulting psychiatrist for the Jennifer Mudd Houghtaling Postpartum Depression Foundation.
The “baby blues” is a colloquial expression used to describe the common experience parents have following the elation of the birth of a child. As the lack of sleep and inability to regularly engage with friends, family, and hobbies begin to catch up with new parents, many begin experiencing exhaustion and mood swings. In 10 to 15 percent of new mothers, this can lead to a more significant condition called postpartum depression (PPD).
A number of indicators suggest PPD, but the most basic symptoms are hopelessness and chronic sadness. Tiredness and frustration are part of the newborn experience for parents, but depression is not.
A general timeline can help differentiate between baby blues and PPD. Baby blues typically lasts about two weeks, while PPD generally does not end without intervention and intensifies as the days go by.
In addition to sadness, guilt is a common symptom of PPD. Again, questioning the decision to become a parent is common for women, but extended crying spells resulting from excessive doubts about motherhood are likely an early symptom of PPD.
Other common symptoms of PPD include difficulty making decisions, irregular sleep patterns, and a lack of interest in things that used to bring joy. Parents who feel their issues extend beyond the baby blues should discuss their concerns with a physician.
Dr. Carol Lynn Childers is a consulting psychiatrist with Healthcare Alternative Systems and Trilogy Behavioral Healthcare. After serving in private practice and at facilities such as Methodist Hospital of Chicago, Dr. Carol Lynn Childers has spent a large portion of her career working with patients who have substance abuse disorders.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of drug overdose deaths in Illinois rose nearly 10 percent between January 2017 and January 2018. During this 12-month period, 2,760 deaths from drug overdoses were reported to the CDC. This was 236 more than the number of overdose deaths the previous year. The jump was mirrored by nationwide overdose deaths, which rose more than 6 percent in the same period.
While this number includes methamphetamine, cocaine, and other illicit drugs, the Illinois director of the Department of Public Health believes that opioids are the primary cause of overdose deaths. In the past year, powerful synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, have become more common in Illinois.
State officials have attempted to address this issue by making naloxone, an overdose-stopping medication, more widely available. Illinois also implemented a program to give naltrexone, a medication that blocks opioid effects, to people being released from jail or prison.
An accomplished mental health professional, Dr. Carol Lynn Childers brings more than three decades of experience to her role as a consulting psychiatrist at Chicago-area organizations Trilogy Behavioral Healthcare and Healthcare Alternative Systems. Dr. Carol Lynn Childers works with patients suffering from a variety of serious illnesses, including those experiencing postpartum depression.
A condition affecting approximately one in every eight new mothers, postpartum depression can include symptoms such as mood swings, confused thinking, and other signs of depression. While psychotherapy is often the recommended treatment for postpartum depression, women can supplement therapy with other coping strategies:
Self Care: Between taking care of the new baby and social visits from friends and family, the weeks and months after giving birth is an incredibly busy time. Though it might feel like shirking your responsibilities, experts recommend finding some time for yourself during this period, whether that means going for a walk on your own or simply taking a long bath.
Exercise: Studies have indicated that exercise may be beneficial for women with postpartum depression. Though you may feel too exhausted for a strenuous workout, even light exercise such as yoga or pushing a stroller can have a positive effect.
Connect with Others: When you’re struggling with postpartum depression, social activities may seem overwhelming. However, research has consistently shown that connecting with other mothers to talk about the emotions you are experiencing, either through support groups or one-on-one chats, can make a big difference in your mental health.
Dr. Carol Lynn Childers serves as a consulting psychiatrist for Trilogy Behavioral Healthcare and at Healthcare Alternative Systems. With more than 30 years of experience, Dr. Carol Lynn Childers is an advocate for mental health care reform.
Recently, Lamar Alexander (R) of Tennessee sponsored Senate bill (SB 2680), titled the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018. The legislation aims to reduce the impact of the opioid epidemic and improve access to treatments and other professional interventions.
Legislators say the bill offers government assistance to address the opioid epidemic, considered the most tragic drug crisis in the country’s history. The law’s legal and regulatory provisions include the following: 1) make treatment for opioid addiction more accessible to everyone; 2) allow for federal agencies to coordinate with each other in preventing synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and carfentanil from crossing U.S. borders; and, 3) encourage research on non-opioid pain medications.
Moreover, this new legislation creates a program that would release grants to Comprehensive Opioid Recovery Centers. This provision will help these centers meet needs for treatment and recovery.