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Tips for Coping with Postpartum Depression


Postpartum Depression pic
Postpartum Depression
Image: webmd.com

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.


Studies Highlight Role of Exercise in Mental Illness Treatment


Exercise pic
Image: health.harvard.edu

In addition to treating women with postpartum depression through a Jennifer Mudd Houghtaling Postpartum Depression Foundation grant, Dr. Carol Lynn Childers serves as a consulting psychiatrist for Trilogy, Inc., and for Healthcare Alternative Systems, where she assists with a residential substance abuse treatment center. Dr. Carol Lynn Childers has a particular interest in the positive effects of physical exercise on her patients.

Scientific studies provide extensive evidence that physical exercise, especially aerobic exercise, substantially improves treatment for those with substance abuse disorders. Incorporating an exercise regimen into the treatment plan has also benefited those with mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and schizophrenia.

The positive effects of exercise come from its influence over various biochemical and physiological processes in the body. These include the release of endorphins, balancing neurotransmitters, and reducing inflammation. Exercise also affects the hypothalamic-pituaitary-adrenal axis, mitochondria, and other parts of the natural mood regulation system.

These physical changes resulting from exercise play an important role in easing depression and anxiety. They also assist with abstinence from substance abuse and decrease symptoms of withdrawal.

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