Anxiety During and After Pregnancy Damages Mother and Child
Many mothers have likely heard about postpartum depression, but what about postpartum anxiety?
According to UBC researcher Nichole Fairbrother, this type of anxiety is not well understood and deserves more attention.
In a meta-analysis published recently in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Fairbrother and her colleagues found that one in five pregnant women experience at least one type of anxiety disorder.
One in five pregnant women experience at least one type of anxiety disorder.
Does Your Anxiety Affect Your Baby?
Maternal anxiety has been associated with a number of negative pregnancy outcomes, including miscarriage and high blood pressure during pregnancy, with strong evidence for pre-term delivery and low birth weight.
There’s some evidence that when mothers are really anxious, it can impact the ways they communicate with their infant, that they’re a little less skillful or less responsive.
Maternal anxiety is also associated with the infant not being at good at self-soothing. Children of mothers who score high for anxiety also have significantly increased risk of ADHD.
It’s important to look at associations with caution, but that doesn’t mean that treating the mother for anxiety wouldn’t also have a positive impact on the child?
Healthy Anxiety vs Problematic Anxiety
It’s completely normal and healthy for all of us to experience some degree of anxiety and some variation in mood.
However, anxiety that’s causing an individual a significant amount of distress or is interfering with that person’s ability to live their life normally is considered problematic.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
For example, someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) who is engaging in a lot of checking or washing behavior might not be able to get to work on time.
Another example is agoraphobia, a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed.
The fear an actual or anticipated situation, such as using public transportation, being in open or enclosed spaces, standing in line, or being in a crowd. The fear can be so overwhelming that a person may feel unable to leave their home.
Anxiety-related behavior that interferes with normal living is considered problematic.
It doesn’t always need to be that extreme; any anxiety-related behavior or avoidance that interferes with the activities of daily living needs to be addressed.
Treating Prenatal and Postpartum Anxiety
The evidence is clear that for most anxiety and related conditions, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the first-line treatment. In fact, CBT is considered the gold standard of psychiatric treatment for anxiety disorders.
CBT is an evidence-based psychological treatment that was developed through decades of scientific research.
Research shows that CBT is one of the most effective treatments for anxiety. It is also an effective treatment for problems such as depression, chronic pain, disordered eating, anger issues, addiction, and low self-esteem.
CBT has been found to be more effective than medication for the majority of anxiety and related disorders.
What makes CBT so compelling is that when you receive a course of CBT, it offers protection against relapse, which means you can actually stop treatment.
There’s something really meaningful about receiving a course of treatment that leaves you with mastery and control and understanding.
How Does CBT Work?
Advances in cognitive behavioral therapy have been made on the basis of both research and clinical practice. Indeed, CBT is an approach for which there is ample scientific evidence that the methods that have been developed actually produce change.
In this manner, CBT differs from many other forms of psychological treatment.
CBT Emphasizes Self Help
CBT places an emphasis on helping individuals learn to be their own therapists.
Through exercises in the session as well as “homework” exercises outside of sessions, patients/clients are helped to develop coping skills, whereby they can learn to change their own thinking, problematic emotions and behavior.
CBT Focuses On Current Life
CBT therapists emphasize what is going on in the person’s current life, rather than what has led up to their difficulties.
A certain amount of information about one’s history is needed, but the focus is primarily on moving forward in time to develop more effective ways of coping with life.
Core Principles of CBT
CBT is based on several core principles, including:
- Psychological problems are based, in part, on faulty or unhelpful ways of thinking.
- Psychological problems are based, in part, on learned patterns of unhelpful behavior.
- People suffering from psychological problems can learn better ways of coping with them, thereby relieving their symptoms and becoming more effective in their lives.
CBT Changes Thinking Patterns
CBT treatment usually involves efforts to change thinking patterns. These strategies might include:
- Learning to recognize one’s distortions in thinking that are creating problems, and then to reevaluate them in light of reality.
- Gaining a better understanding of the behavior and motivation of others.
- Using problem-solving skills to cope with difficult situations.
- Learning to develop a greater sense of confidence is one’s own abilities.
CBT Strategies For Behavior Change
CBT treatment also usually involves efforts to change behavioral patterns. These strategies might include:
- Facing one’s fears instead of avoiding them.
- Using role playing to prepare for potentially problematic interactions with others.
- Learning to calm one’s mind and relax one’s body.
Get Help For Pre and Postpartum Anxiety Today
I have an excellent recommendation for learning to manage and cure your anxiety and panic.
This is an especially good choice for those who prefer to go the “do it yourself” route, rather than be under the care of a therapist:
The Panic Away Program was born in 2001, and through the sheer number of success stories, it has gone on to become one of the world’s most successful programs for ending panic and anxiety.
The Panic Away Program teaches how to end panic attacks and reduce feelings of general anxiety.
This is the ideal choice for those who prefer self-help, rather than regularly visiting with a therapist.
The program is used in over 32 countries worldwide and is proving to be one of the most successful non- pharmaceutical approaches to ending an anxiety disorder.
Using the 21-7 Technique, Barry McDonagh teaches how to stop a panic attack in 21 seconds and reduce feelings of general anxiety in less than 7 minutes.
The programs global success is a result of communicating psychological techniques in an easy to follow, step by step manner.
You’ll quickly learn how to:
- Stop Panic Attacks
- End Feelings of General Anxiety
- Eliminate Anxious Thoughts
- Feel More Confident and In Control
In the past 15 years, The Panic Away Program has touched over 150,000 lives in 32 countries worldwide.
For more information, visit the Panic Away Program website.
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