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Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy in Treating Postpartum Depression, Essay Example

Pages: 6

Words: 1685

Essay

Abstract

Postpartum depression is a significant disorder that affects many women after childbirth. It has numerous adverse effects on both mothers and their children. Therefore, effective treatment approaches for this disorder are necessary. This study concludes that cognitive-behavioural therapy is an efficacious treatment approach to reduce the symptoms of postpartum depression. The analysis has used a literature review methodology that incorporates eight journal articles. It obtained these scientific studies from reputable databases, using the key phrases “cognitive behavioral therapy” and “postpartum depression.” The literature review supported the study’s hypothesis that cognitive-behavioral therapy effectively reduces the symptoms of postpartum depression.

Introduction

Postpartum depression is a significant challenge that affects many women. Pearlstein et al. (2009) note that this depressive disorder affects approximately 15 percent of women and usually occurs 10 days after childbirth. This study defines postpartum depression as a major depressive disorder with a postpartum onset that occurs within one month of childbirth (Pearlstein et al., 2009). Therefore, this disorder significantly affects mothers’ abilities to care for their children, leading to adverse effects on both mothers and children. Furthermore, O’Hara et al. (1982) elucidate multiple etiological factors that lead to postpartum depression: marital problems, giving birth to an at-risk infant, lack of social support, delivery stress, and stressful life events. Many women undergo these problems during their pregnancy and delivery period, encouraging the development of postpartum depression. However, several studies have indicated that cognitive-behavioral therapy can treat postpartum depression. Therefore, this study will conduct a literature review to establish whether cognitive behavioral therapy can reduce the symptoms of postpartum depression.

Methodology

This study employs a literature review methodology. It collected published scientific studies from various databases, including the APA PsycNet, PubMed, and Google Scholar. This research targeted published journal articles that examined the impacts of cognitive-behavioral therapy on postpartum depression. Therefore, the keywords and phrases in the search were “cognitive behavioral therapy” and “postpartum depression.” This search criterion yielded multiple journal articles, and this research included eight of them. A review of these eight studies tested for the following hypothesis:

H: Cognitive behavior therapy effectively reduces the symptoms of postpartum depression.

Results

Pearlstein et al. (2009) evaluated the diagnosis and treatment of postpartum depression. According to this study, this major depressive disorder has low diagnosis rates because affected women are often unwilling to divulge their condition. Therefore, medical professionals should actively evaluate the conditions of mothers during clinical visits after giving birth (Pearlstein et al., 2009). Moreover, this study notes that psychotherapy is one of the most effective treatments for postpartum depression. Various systematic reviews have indicated that psychotherapy approaches such as cognitive behavior therapy are effective psychological treatments for postpartum depression (Pearlstein et al., 2009). Moreover, effective cognitive behavior therapy that relies on psychotherapy principles effectively reduces the symptoms of postpartum depression. Thus, this article supports the study’s hypothesis.

Misri et al. (2004) concur that major depressive episodes relating to postpartum depression are highly prevalent (up to 16 percent) among women after childbirth. Moreover, this study indicates that comorbid anxiety disorders tend to accompany postpartum depression (Misri et al., 2004). Therefore, medical practitioners have explored several treatment options for postpartum depression. According to Misri et al. (2004), combining cognitive behavior therapy with antidepressants or pharmacological treatment options improves treatment efficacy and effectively reduces postpartum depression symptoms. Moreover, this study indicates that cognitive behavior therapy is a recommended treatment approach for postpartum depression in many patients. It is an effective treatment option because it also reduces the anxiety symptoms accompanying postpartum depression, leading to holistic recovery. These findings support this research’s hypothesis.

Hou et al. (2014) agree that combining cognitive behavior therapy with other treatment options reduces the symptoms of postpartum depression. Misri et al. (2004) evaluated the efficacy of combining cognitive behavioral therapy with antidepressants treatment. On the contrary, Hou et al. (2014) assess the efficacy of incorporating systemic family therapy into cognitive behavioral therapy to treat postpartum depression. Postpartum depression often emerges from negative attitudes about women after childbirth and lack of family support (Hou et al., 2014). Therefore, this study establishes that combining cognitive behavior therapy with systemic family therapy can significantly reduce the symptoms of mild to moderate postpartum depression. Therefore, this analysis supports the study’s hypothesis.

Various scholars have postulated the effectiveness of combining cognitive behavior therapy with other treatment options in reducing the symptoms of postpartum depression. However, multiple researchers have indicated that cognitive behavior therapy is a sufficient treatment option for postpartum depression. Sockol (2015) explains that empirical studies support cognitive behavioral therapy as a treatment and prevention approach for depressive disorders such as postpartum depression. This study evaluated the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy in treating postpartum depression and established that this treatment approach significantly reduces depressive symptoms (Sockol, 2015). These findings were similar in prevention trials where participants’ likelihood of developing depressive symptoms was reduced after cognitive behavioral therapy. Therefore, this research supports the study’s hypothesis.

According to this analysis, postpartum depression is likely to occur in women who undergo a stressful or traumatic delivery experience. Therefore, Abdollahpour et al. (2018) evaluated whether cognitive behavioral therapy can reduce the symptoms of postpartum depression following traumatic or stressful childbirth. This analysis notes that these symptoms are likely to be severe in such cases. Furthermore, Abdollahpour et al. (2018) evaluated the effects of both debriefing and brief cognitive-behavioral therapy on postpartum depression. This research established that debriefing and brief cognitive-behavioral therapy could significantly reduce the symptoms of postpartum depression in mothers who have undergone traumatic or stressful childbirth. The study also did not find significant differences in the efficacy of these interventions. Thus, these findings support the hypothesis.

One of the major symptoms of postpartum depression is withdrawal from the infant. As established above, postpartum depressive symptoms such as withdrawal have significant adverse effects on the infant. Thus, Ntow et al. (2021) evaluate the impacts of cognitive-behavioral therapy on the withdrawal symptom of postpartum depression. The study elucidates that mothers who undergo maternal cognitive behavioral therapy are more likely to show lower withdrawn behavior (Ntow et al., 2021). Moreover, the reduction of this symptom is more pronounced three months after undergoing cognitive behavioral therapy. Withdrawn behavior seems to normalize to a healthy level three months after undergoing cognitive behavioral therapy (Ntow et al., 2021). Therefore, these findings support the study’s hypothesis.

O’Hara et al. (1982) offer a more in-depth analysis of the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy in treating postpartum depression. This study explains that viewing depressive disorders such as postpartum depression as quantitative rather than qualitative elements enables their prediction through cognitive-behavioral measures (O’Hara et al., 1982). These measures can indicate depression proneness and analyze the extent to which treatment approaches reduce depression symptoms. Therefore, this research concurs that cognitive-behavioral therapy is an effective treatment and prevention approach for depressive disorders such as postpartum depression. Moreover, this analysis indicates that stressful life events were more likely to increase postpartum depression levels. Analyzing these impacts through cognitive-behavioral measures enhances treatment effectiveness (O’Hara et al., 1982). Thus, these findings support this study’s hypothesis.

Peer-delivered group cognitive behavioral therapy is also effective in treating postpartum depression. The study by Amani et al. (2021) evaluated how cognitive behavioral therapy delivered in a group by women who have undergone and healed from postpartum depression affected this disorder’s symptoms. According to this research, peer-delivered group cognitive behavioral therapy significantly reduces depressive symptoms (Amani et al., 2021). Moreover, these benefits were stable for six months following the treatment intervention. Amani et al. (2021) note that the main symptoms that peer-delivered group cognitive behavioral therapy affected were pathological anger, withdrawal from infant bonding, and rejection. These symptoms decreased consistently six months after the treatment intervention. Thus, this study supports the hypothesis.

Conclusions

This study used a literature review methodology to evaluate the effects of cognitive-behavioral therapy on the symptoms of postpartum depression. The study included eight peer-reviewed journal articles from various reputable databases. The findings of these eight studies support the hypothesis that cognitive-behavioral therapy effectively reduces the symptoms of postpartum depression. These findings indicate that cognitive-behavioral therapy is an efficacious treatment for postpartum depression. Cognitive-behavioral therapy also reduces the likelihood of developing depressive symptoms; hence, it is an effective preventative approach for postpartum depression. Additionally, the literature review elucidates the effectiveness of various cognitive behavioral therapy approaches in treating postpartum depressive symptoms. These approaches include debriefing and brief cognitive behavioral therapy, and peer-delivered group cognitive behavioral therapy. Also, other options include combining cognitive-behavioral therapy with pharmacological therapy and systemic family therapy. These approaches significantly reduce the symptoms of mild, moderate, and severe postpartum depression. In addition, this literature review has indicated that the main postpartum depressive symptoms that cognitive-behavioral therapy reduces include withdrawal, poor bonding with the infant, rejecting the infant, and pathological anger. These symptoms are central in the postpartum depression episodes of many women. Therefore, this study concludes that cognitive-behavioral therapy effectively reduces the symptoms of postpartum depression.

References

Abdollahpour, S., Keramat, A., Mousavi, S., Khosravi, A., & Motaghi, Z. (2018). The Effect of Debriefing and Brief Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy on Postpartum Depression in Traumatic Childbirth: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Journal Of Midwifery & Reproductive Health6(1), 1122-1131. https://doi.org/10.22038/jmrh.2017.10000

Amani, B., Merza, D., Savoy, C., Streiner, D., Bieling, P., Ferro, M., & Van Lieshout, R. (2021). Peer-Delivered Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Postpartum Depression. The Journal Of Clinical Psychiatry83(1), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.4088/jcp.21m13928

Hou, Y., Hu, P., Zhang, Y., Lu, Q., Wang, D., & Yin, L. et al. (2014). Cognitive behavioral therapy in combination with systemic family therapy improves mild to moderate postpartum depression. Revista Brasileira De Psiquiatria36(1), 47-52. https://doi.org/10.1590/1516-4446-2013-1170

Misri, S., Reebye, P., Corral, M., & Milis, L. (2004). The Use of Paroxetine and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy in Postpartum Depression and Anxiety. The Journal Of Clinical Psychiatry65(9), 1236-1241. https://doi.org/10.4088/jcp.v65n0913

Ntow, K., Krzeczkowski, J., Amani, B., Savoy, C., Schmidt, L., & Van Lieshout, R. (2021). Maternal and Infant Performance on the Face-to-Face Still-Face Task following Maternal Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Postpartum Depression. Journal Of Affective Disorders278, 583-591. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2020.09.101

O’Hara, M., Rehm, L., & Campbell, S. (1982). Predicting depressive symptomatology: Cognitive-behavioral models and postpartum depression. Journal Of Abnormal Psychology91(6), 457-461. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-843x.91.6.457

Pearlstein, T., Howard, M., Salisbury, A., & Zlotnick, C. (2009). Postpartum depression. American Journal Of Obstetrics And Gynecology200(4), 357-364. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2008.11.033

Sockol, L. (2015). A systematic review of the efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy for treating and preventing perinatal depression. Journal Of Affective Disorders177, 7-21. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2015.01.052

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