Having a baby is life-changing. Once this new person enters your world, everything is different. While many of these experiences will be joyous, some will not. Many mothers face a serious mental health challenge called postpartum depression.
Until recently, very little attention was given to this depressive state that affects new mothers shortly after giving birth. However, like any mental health condition, postpartum depression puts women at a higher risk of addiction as they try to cope with their overwhelming feelings. If you have postpartum depression, understanding this severe condition is the first step to getting the help you need before you fall prey to substance addiction.
How Postpartum Depression Leads to Addiction
Whether you’ve struggled with substance abuse before or not, postpartum depression can leave young mothers especially vulnerable to addiction. Following the birth of a baby, you experience huge changes. Your body undergoes extreme hormone fluctuations, and the lack of sleep and constant state of vigilance that come with caring for a baby can lead to intense feelings such as sadness, irritability and anxiety. It can also impair your ability to bond with your baby.
Instead of seeking professional help, some mothers turn to substances such as drugs or alcohol to cope. The most common reasons women struggling with postpartum depression fall into addiction include:
- Self-medicating their physical or emotional pain
- Relieving stress or anxiety
- Increasing energy
- Help falling asleep
Overcoming Postpartum Depression Without Turning to Substance Abuse
Some days will be okay, and others will be incredibly hard. The most important thing is to speak to a health professional if you’re struggling with postpartum depression. They can help you develop a treatment plan to overcome this condition without falling into the trap of addiction. With each day, keep the following things in mind:
- Don’t hide: Don’t feel like you have to lie about how you feel. If it’s a bad day, that’s okay — good days will come again.
- You’re not a bad mom: Postpartum depression doesn’t make you a bad mother. Neither does the temptation to use substances to cope. This widespread mental health concern impacts one out of every eight new mothers. With professional help, you can find your way out.
- Don’t prejudge how others perceive you: Choose to accept the love and care of your friends and family without seeing it as pity or undue concern.
- Ask for help when you need it: Reach out to someone when things feel like they’re too much to handle.
Find Hope and Healing at AppleGate Recovery
If postpartum depression has lead to an addiction to opioids, it’s not too late to get the help you need. AppleGate Recovery offers highly effective medication-assisted treatment combined with counseling services to address addiction’s physical and emotional ramifications. Opioid addiction is not the end of your story. With our compassionate professionals walking beside you, you can break free so that you can be the best version of yourself for your family.