Pregnancy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Treating Pregnancy Depression And Anxiety
We have long known about postpartum depression and the effects of it upon a woman, her baby and her household. What we have also learned is that depression is a common occurrence during pregnancy, not only after the baby is born. The problem has been that treating depression during pregnancy is a very delicate procedure - drugs have the potential to hurt unborn babies. Some women are advised to cease medications and others continue to take antidepressants. It is contingent upon the doctor's input and the impact of the drugs in question. Each woman's situation and genetic makeup is different, so treatments vary with the individual.
It is important that a pregnant woman discuss treatment for anxiety disorders and depression with her doctor, and that she have her partner, and perhaps another family member involved as well. Questions regarding treatment and the effects of various drugs need to be explored before a prescription is written and filled. In some situations, under the care of a doctor, medication to treat the symptoms of depression is better than not treating it, especially if the woman is dealing with a major depressive disorder or severe mental disorder. Psychotherapy can be very useful in these situations, but often there is a need for drug interventions in the case of major depressive disorders or severe mental disorders.
Are Drugs Really Necessary?
If the pregnant woman is dealing with insomnia or hormones have taken her on a wild ride where she is troubled with mood disorders, then there are other forms of treatment that are effective and do not have the attendant negative possibilities that drugs have. Often mood disorders and insomnia can be treated with measures other than drugs, such as acupuncture or natural herbal remedies that do not affect the baby.
More frequently, women are learning techniques to deal with anxiety disorders, depression, mood issues, and insomnia through the use of specific types of counseling and psychotherapy. Once such method is cognitive behavioral therapy which teaches her how to identify and deal with situations that can trigger feelings of anxiety or sadness. By learning how her thoughts affect her behavior, a woman can handle her feelings without the aid of drugs through the use of techniques to change the thoughts and thereby improve her mood.
The idea behind cognitive therapy is that psychological distress is caused by distorted thought about stimuli, thereby causing distressed emotions. An example of distorted thinking and the attendant emotions might be that a woman is told, "you may be a great mother". What she hears is "they think I won't be a good mother", "they doubt my ability to mother therefore I am doomed to be a bad mother." The reaction is despondent and negative. The emotions that follow are those of depression and anxiety over the fear of failing as a mother.
Becoming Aware Means Regaining Power
A CBT therapist helps a client become aware of the distortions in thinking that are causing the emotional distress as well as creating the behaviors that reinforce the behavior. It is impossible to correct every behavior, but by correcting the primary thoughts and behaviors that may be the root issues, the other issues begin to fall away as the woman gains insight into her own behaviors. The CBT therapist endeavors to help the client see and work through thoughts and patterns that are destructive, challenging them and measuring them against reality and other assumptions.
Through the CBT experience, a woman learns, explores, and tests different beliefs and examines the responding emotions. She learns strategies and is able to confront thoughts that trigger distortions, acquiring coping strategies, awareness skills and the ability to be introspective, evaluating troublesome issues before they get a negative grip on her mind and emotions. In a very real way, cognitive behavioral therapy helps to develop a mind-body connection as a woman learns that what she is thinking produces an emotional response in her that affects her body. Anxiety can cause shaking, vomiting, insomnia, crying, and even pain. By learning how to control and defuse negative thinking, she can bring her emotions into control and the benefit is a peaceful mind and body.