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When Your Treatment Doesn't Seem To Be Working

posted Jul 21, 2014, 12:26 PM by AndrewandSarah Witzel

Recovery from perinatal mood disorders can be challenging, especially when recovery is not going well.  Here are three questions to ask when your treatment doesn’t seem to be working.

Has it been long enough? Regardless of what treatment you are using, it takes time to recover fully from perinatal mood disorders. Initial improvement can occur within weeks, but sometimes takes longer. Ask your treatment providers what they consider to be a typical time frame. Full remission usually requires at least a couple of months of active treatment. Remember to be patient with yourself and celebrate your progress along the way, even the small steps.

Is it time to try something different? If you have spent a reasonable length of time working at your recovery, it may be time to change your approach. This could mean trying a different medication, changing types of therapy (ie. individual instead of group), or trying a different therapist if you do not feel you are connecting well with your current one. If you are relying mainly on treatment that is not backed up by solid research (ie. herbal therapy, acupuncture, etc) ask your healthcare provider about switching to or adding a treatment that is evidence-based.

Is your diagnosis accurate? Aside from ruling out physical factors, such as anemia (low iron) and thyroid problems, your mental health diagnosis must be correct to ensure complete recovery. Many healthcare providers lack extensive knowledge of perinatal mood disorders and may be unaware of postpartum disorders beyond depression. Do you have symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety, or eating disorders that have not been addressed? Do you have a family or personal history of bipolar disorder? If you feel your diagnosis and symptoms need further assessment, you can ask for a second opinion, or a referral to a psychiatrist.