If you are a mother-to-be, then you may be wondering if you could suffer from perinatal OCD. This is a type of obsessive compulsive disorder that can occur during pregnancy or after giving birth. It is estimated that 1 in 4 women will experience some form of perinatal OCD, so it is important to be aware of the treatment options. In this blog post, we will explore the methods of perinatal OCD treatment and how to start them.
- 1 What Is Perinatal OCD?
- 2 Can Perinatal OCD Go Away?
- 3 What Are The Treatment For Perinatal OCD?
- 4 How To Start The Perinatal OCD Treatment?
- 5 Conclusion
What Is Perinatal OCD?
Perinatal OCD is a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder that can occur during or after pregnancy. It is characterized by intrusive thoughts, worries, and anxieties related to the baby or mother’s health. These obsessions and compulsions often lead to extreme levels of distress for the mother which can interfere with daily activities. In this condition, people have obsessions and compulsions of:
- Checking on the baby.
- Contamination concern for the baby.
- Thoughts of harm coming to the baby.
- Excessive worrying about the health and safety of the baby.
- The perfectionism of mothering tasks.
- Ruminating over the baby’s future.
- The mother became obsessive to put the baby’s things in order.
- Fear of something bad happening to the baby or mother.
- Worrying excessively about their own health and the health of their baby.
Can Perinatal OCD Go Away?
Perinatal OCD can be treated and improved with the right treatment. Generally, this condition does not bother after birth or for a long-term period. However, it can come back if the underlying issues are not addressed. Therefore, seeking professional help is recommended for any mother who is experiencing symptoms of perinatal OCD.
What Are The Treatment For Perinatal OCD?
Perinatal OCD can be treated using different treatment approaches such as medication, psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes. Here below we have stated all of them:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT )
It is a type of therapy that helps people change the thoughts and behaviors that are responsible for their perinatal OCD. It involves gradually exposing the patient to the source of their anxiety and teaching them how to cope with their fears in a healthy way. This way, they can learn to manage their symptoms and gain control over the OCD.
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)
This type of therapy involves gradually exposing the patient to their fears and then teaching them how to resist the urge to perform compulsive behaviors. This way, they can become less afraid of the feared object and eventually break free from their obsessions.
Imaginal exposure is also a part of ERP which involves the person imagining or thinking about their obsessions. Vivo exposure involves facing their fears in real life.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
This is an approach that helps people accept their thoughts and feelings instead of judging them. It teaches them to be mindful of the present moment without trying to control or avoid it. This way, they can become more aware of their anxiety and learn how to cope with it in a healthier manner.
Medication For Perinatal OCD
Doctors may also recommend antidepressants or other medications for perinatal OCD. Certain medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be prescribed in order to reduce symptoms of perinatal OCD. This medication helps balance the levels of serotonin in your brain which is thought to help lessen anxiety and obsessive thoughts. It is important to note that these medications take time to work effectively so it could take a few weeks before improvements are seen.
These drugs are often prescribed for short-term use and should be taken as directed by your doctor. It is important to discuss any potential side effects of medication with your doctor before taking them.
Making lifestyle changes such as reducing stress, getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and exercising regularly can help reduce the symptoms of perinatal OCD. Additionally, seeking support from family members or friends can also be beneficial.
Self-help strategies can also be helpful in managing perinatal OCD. These include relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, mindfulness meditation, and yoga. Additionally, having a distraction strategy to take your mind off of obsessive thoughts is also beneficial. Lastly, journaling or writing can help identify triggers for your symptoms and provide an outlet for expressing emotions.
How To Start The Perinatal OCD Treatment?
If you are experiencing symptoms of perinatal OCD, then start your treatment in the following way:
- It is important to seek help from a trained professional. Your doctor can refer you to a therapist who specializes in treating perinatal OCD. In some cases, your doctor may also prescribe medication for treatment.
- It is important to remember that recovery from perinatal OCD takes time. However, there is hope that with the right help, you will be able to manage the condition and find relief from its debilitating effects.
- Take care during this difficult time, reach out for support and stay strong – with patience and determination, your mind will heal itself naturally. Good luck on your journey to recovery!
Perinatal OCD is a serious condition that can affect both the mother’s and baby’s health. It is important to seek professional help in order to get the most appropriate treatment for your individual needs. The combination of medications, psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes can be beneficial in managing symptoms of perinatal OCD and improving overall mental health. By seeking help early on, you can reduce the severity of perinatal OCD and decrease its long-term effects on yourself and your baby.
Take care, and don’t forget that you are not alone! OCD is a mental health disorder characterized by obsessions and compulsions. If you have any queries regarding OCD treatment, ERP therapy experienced therapists at OCDMantra can help: Book a trial OCD therapy session