Psychological medicine

Dealing with the patient with postnatal depression

Philip M Boyce



Psychoeducation, non-directive counselling and psychological and pharmacological treatments may all be involved in managing this common disorder.

Article Extract

  • Postnatal depression is a common disorder, affecting 10 to 15% of women in the first six months after childbirth.
  • It is frequently unrecognised and untreated, despite there being effective treatments for it.
  • Postnatal depression is not a ‘unique’ type of depression; its symptoms are no different from the symptoms of depression occurring at other times in the life cycle, although there may be more anxiety symptoms than usually found in major depression, especially worry about the baby. Symptoms of panic commonly accompany postnatal depression, with some women reaching the threshold for panic disorder.