Anyone seeing a naturopathic doctor or using alternative medicine for postpartum depression? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 01-11-2011, 04:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello all,

 

My first big post on MDC!

  

 I gave birth 7 months ago at home to a happy and healthy little boy. I breastfed until a few days ago, when my doctor prescribed me Wellbutrin for PPD, and recommended I stop the BFing once I began to take it. I've had several problems postpartum that seem to add up to postpartum depression with occasional anxiety. The real trouble has been separating possible PPD, from situational factors:

    I was in college when I became pregnant unexpectedly. And, to make a long story short, I've had a very difficult time uprooting myself from my former life, moving in with my now fiance, and giving up, or postponing, my future goals and plans (none of which included a child, I never felt even the slightest pang of desire for one), and generally transitioning to a completely different, unplanned, unwanted lifestyle.

       My midwife attended home birth was less than ideal, though both myself and baby are physically healthy (for the most part). I'm currently seeing a therapist for all of the above, and have been diagnosed with PTSD related to the birth experience. To bring this all back to center, I'm not a big fan of pills, and taking Wellbutrin is something I would rather not be doing. So,  I'm wondering if any you gals have had success seeing a naturopath, or similar, for your PPD...? If so, what treatments, medications, if any, did you use? I currently take fish oil (which I've heard is helpful for PPD), though I've taken it for several years prior to my pregnancy as a supplement, so I'm unable to say I've noticed any difference as a result. I was also taking prenatals up until last week, when I quit breastfeeding.            I've been taking Wellbutrin XL for 3 days so far, and since I began, I've had horrible and vivid nightmares, irritability, and nasty spell of feeling faint that lasted 2 hours (I was at my son's pediatrician today toward the end of this spell, and I ended up having to lay down in one of the back rooms of the office, kind of embarrassing!). So, bad side effects aside, all of which my regular doctor promised would abate within a few weeks, I'd rather not be on an antidepressant, period. Any suggestions from the alternative medicine side of things? Thanks for any advice in advance!

 

-Olivia

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#2 of 18 Old 01-12-2011, 10:52 PM
 
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I would say to try and go very gentle on yourself because you've had a tremendous amount of change! Sometimes "physically" healthy is very deceiving. I hope that you can find like-minded mothers to share your experiences with and find some emotional and in-person support. Do you have any local parenting groups, maybe LLL or API? You don't have to be currently nursing to attend an LLL meeting. 

 

Here are some helpful threads: 

 

http://www.mothering.com/community/forum/thread/195601/a-true-natural-remedy

 

http://www.mothering.com/community/forum/thread/1288195/ppd-and-no-insurance-natural-remedy

 

http://www.mothering.com/community/forum/thread/1270016/is-there-any-way-through-this-w-out-meds


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#3 of 18 Old 01-14-2011, 03:57 PM
 
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You can start breastfeeding again (very possible) if you want because it borders on malpractice to tell a mother she has to stop BFing to treat PPD even pharmceutically. There are many safe drugs! I am treating my PPD with St John's Wort, Vitamin D, Fish Oil, and Evening Primrose Oil. St John's Wort is an L2 according to Hale. BUT, my PPD is Mild to Moderate. If you would characterize yours as severe, then I would stick with pharmaceuticals.
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#4 of 18 Old 01-14-2011, 04:08 PM
 
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another MDC mama (GaleForce aka Amanda Rose) wrote a book on the subject - how she healed through food.  VERY worthwhile reading.    http://www.rebuild-from-depression.com/

 

 


Jennifer, Naturopath and mom

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#5 of 18 Old 01-15-2011, 08:48 AM
 
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I have been taking St John's wart and am BFing my 15 m/o it is working better for me than anything they ever prescribed me! I really can not recommend it enough! There has been a huge change for me and am doing at least 80% better. I take 900mg a day.


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#6 of 18 Old 01-17-2011, 11:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sosurreal and Dinahx: Did you visit a naturopath or herbalist to get suggestions on dosages and what to take in the first place; or, did you do your own research and choose your dosages? I'm inclined to see a naturopathic doctor (assuming this would be the right person to see), for recommendations on all of the above for many reasons, but the primary being that I'm currently on a low dose of Adderall for my ADD, and I wouldn't want to mix the wrong things! I know the vitamins and Fish oil aren't a problem here, but St. John's wort I'd be more concerned about adding on without advice from someone more knowledgeable than myself. I am in Austin, Texas, if anyone else is and/or can recommend an alternative doc who works with depression, etc. in the area. 

  Oddly, and confusingly, I'm OK most of the time, not great, or manic in any way, but just OK, and able to deal. Then some days, for hours I'll be incredibly down and feel like I've ruined my life and my baby would be better off without me. And, then, I'm OK again. It's confusing. I've been to a therapist and ruled out bipolar disorder, but I also don't neatly fit into the postpartum depression column, because I'm don't always feel bad. I'm beginning to wonder if I have PMDD that began postpartum, but since my cycles have only recently begun to normalize, I'll have to start tracking for a few months to see if the incredibly bad days/times are related to my cycle.  Thank you mamas for all of the advice!

 

Olivia

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#7 of 18 Old 01-17-2011, 06:01 PM
 
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I've used St. John's Wart in the past to deal with Clinical Depression and found that it actually aggravated a heart condition that I have.  So please be careful taking it if you choose to take it.  Are you still seeing your midwife?  If so, she or your doctor might be able to refer you to a PPD support group.  Talking with other mom's in person might be really helpful for you.  Also if you aren't already journaling, I would suggest starting.  Have a safe outlet for your feelings is actually really helpful.  Some other things that have been shown to help with depression in general include daily exercise, meditation, spending time outside (spending time in the sun), eating a healthy diet, and spending time with your support network.


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#8 of 18 Old 01-18-2011, 05:49 AM
 
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I think if you can afford a naturopath you should see one. I haven't, but we are very low income and just can't swing it. I did see my reg Dr and she is Indian and lived in the UK a few years. She suggested it to me when the zoloft failed, she knows I am "into homeopathy" and said there were a lot of studies in the UK that it was just as effective as the prescriptions like zoloft. She said it does adjust the chemicals in you're brain just like the prescriptions.


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#9 of 18 Old 01-18-2011, 07:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sosurreal09 View Post

I think if you can afford a naturopath you should see one. I haven't, but we are very low income and just can't swing it. I did see my reg Dr and she is Indian and lived in the UK a few years. She suggested it to me when the zoloft failed, she knows I am "into homeopathy" and said there were a lot of studies in the UK that it was just as effective as the prescriptions like zoloft. She said it does adjust the chemicals in you're brain just like the prescriptions.


it does, but it's only helpful if those are the chemicals that need adjusting.  There are several neurotransmitters and St John's Wort only works really effectively on one. If it works, it works well.  If it doesn't, it can create a further imbalance.

 

I had pretty severe PPD after a lifetime of mild to moderate depression and didn't use medication.  It had never worked for me before (and I'd been on several.) 

 

I used dietary changes, targeted supplementation  and flower essences.  Worked like a charm.  I've been depression free for 6 years now.  I have gone through immense periods of stress and never fell back to that place.  I was working with a practitioner.  It's a big reason I did go back to school.

 

Given the prescriptions that you are on I would absolutely see a doctor-and yes...an ND would be your best bet barring any great local referrals.  Herbs can have contraindications so you'd want some guidance there.  Best of luck!

 

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#10 of 18 Old 01-18-2011, 08:31 AM
 
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Yes definately don't just stop you're meds and start taking it! It works for some people and there are many options. Someone else recommended mother wort to me as well.


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#11 of 18 Old 01-18-2011, 09:39 AM
 
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Yes, definitely don't take anything you read online as medical advice! Make sure to make all decisions in conjunction with a trained healthcare provider b/c s/he will know your medical history, can help advise you about interactions, be on-call for emergencies, etc. Doing your own research and seeking information is a very important part of the equation many times, but I would also never advise anyone to stop or taking anything w/o consulting their trained healthcare professional (whoever that may be). Depression of any kind is not something to take lightly, and I hope you can find the support you're seeking. Many of us know firsthand what it's like so please know you are not alone. 


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#12 of 18 Old 01-19-2011, 08:55 AM
 
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argh..just wrote a response and it got erased!

I'm taking:

fish oil

cod liver oil (vit d)

b vits

thyroid supplement

digestive enzymes

homeopathic for anxiety

and also seeing a homeopath who has been workign closely with me for over 6 months, and my daughter.

The naturopath rec's are very personal to me...and are based on bloodwork, consultationa nd some sort of biofeedback "VEGA" testing of my hormones, etc. I was taking 5 htp but it made me kinda manic.

I'm really glad I have this support, I sought regular medical help and found none. However, I really wish I'd gone straight to the naturopath after her birth! And if that didn;'t work fairly quickly I wish I'd tried meds and continued with the naturopath. I also wish I'd found my therapist much sooner. I am doing other "natural" things...pm me to talk more.


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#13 of 18 Old 01-21-2011, 02:59 AM
 
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I second the thyroid supplements or medication. Adrenal supplements are also great.

I take the following based on blood work done at the integrative medical clinic I go to as well as my symptoms.

Amour Thyroid

Isocort

Adrenamin

http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/thyroid-depression-mental-health/

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#14 of 18 Old 01-21-2011, 03:17 PM
 
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Just had to respond to this because I feel so similarly to you, OliveBubble. Seriously, your posts could have been written by me (give or take a few details). It IS so hard to adjust from pre-baby life, especially when your little one was a "surprise" (as mine was). Add that rumination into all the other life-stressors, and ugh. I don't really have any great suggestions, as I am in a similar situation, BUT I must say it really does feel like you're in a fog, for me about the first year felt like that. I was just so busy with the day-to-day tendings, breastfeeding, sleep troubles, the list goes on... and then suddenly he turned one (he's 13 months now), and I felt a little better, a little less foggy. (But still definitely struggling with PPD). But yeah, I mostly just wanted to emphasize with you, you are totally not alone!! Today I did yoga for like half an hour while the baby napped and I was amazed at how much better I felt after. Nothing fancy, just a couple tracks of Yogastrology that I got on itunes for .99 a pop. But, as soon as the babe was up and at 'em again, I began to feel defeated again, lol. Maybe if I do it on a regular basis I'll see some longer lasting results? Hmmm. Anyway I feel inspired now to talk to my doctor or a naturopath about all of this, thanks to everyone for their input... I am now really curious about trying St. John's Wort... I wish all the best to you and positive thoughts... 

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#15 of 18 Old 01-21-2011, 06:01 PM
 
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If you do start on SJW just remember it is an MAOI inhibitor, just like an antidepressant. It of course has much less side effects and is natural but you have to follow the same guidelines as you would with MAOI inhibitors. Make sure any additional meds you take don;t say Do Not Take with MAOI inhibitors.


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#16 of 18 Old 01-22-2011, 05:21 AM
 
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Hi, I'm not sure if the OP is still checking this thread, but I thought I'd suggest an ND in Austin- her name is Amy Neuzil. when I was dealing with hyperemisis in my 4th pregnancy last year, I contacted her and she seemed very kind and very knowledgable. So, maybe look her up? Hope that helps...

Tara
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#17 of 18 Old 01-24-2011, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi, 

 

Yes, I am definitely still checking this thread!  Oddly, I posted a big long response earlier today, and it still has not been posted. I'm not sure why. -??? It did contain some info about my less than ideal midwife attended home-birth, which I have read in other places is usually deleted by MDC moderators, for whatever reason. Mine post was quite tame however, and didn't contain any identifying information about my midwife, or anything that would violate the posting code of conduct, at least that I am aware of. So, maybe it's still in the system (I hope!), and will show up soon. I'll check back later and see if it is here. By the way, the post said I would call Dr. Amy Neuzil for a consult, which I did a few minutes ago, and left a message. Thanks, Tara, for the recommendation!

 

-O

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#18 of 18 Old 01-24-2011, 01:27 PM
 
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Hi and welcome.  Congrats on a healthy baby boy.

I am sorry things were so hard and you are dealing with this now.  

I highly recommend going to a naturopathic doctor.   They can help you tackle all your questions and maybe help you find some inbalances that have been going on in other areas to help things be better without nasty side effects.  

Please update on how things are going with the ND you contacted. 


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