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When will my wife recover from postpartum depression?

Q: My wife is 34 years old, delivered a baby boy in November 2006 and after that she gradually went into depression. We consulted a psychiatrist and he started her on Nexito, Tancodep and Lonazep. She attempted to end her life, even though there has not been any problem in our relationship. We have been married last 13 years and have been living a very happy married life. Her current medications are Fluvoxin 50 and 100 mg, Nexito 20 mg, Epilex chrono 300 & 500 mg, Sensival 25 mg, Lonazep sos. At present she feels well for 1 or 2 days and then again sleeps for whole day or anytime she may feel angry about things or get disturbed without any reason. We cannot leave her alone anywhere. Please advise if taking these medicines for a long time will have any side effects. Her memory is very sharp. How much more time will she take to recover? Does sleeping for long hours affect her badly?

A:Depression after childbirth is called as post-partum depression. This type depression often can lead to severe disability. In addition, several other psychiatric disorders can be precipitated after child birth such as bipolar disorder/obsessive compulsive disorder, etc. Several of these disorders are treatable - almost 70-80% of individuals suffering from depression / anxiety disorders can improve with proper treatment (medications + therapy). Individuals with depression may sleep longer, however, several medications (lonazep) may also cause sedation. Thus a balance is needed so as to not make patient excessively sedated during the day. This often requires several visits to physician. Sleeping more by itself is not of any harm except that you do not function well during the day. I strongly suggest that you follow-up with psychiatrist regularly for a comprehensive examination and changes in medications. Additionally, in such cases a good support system (either family or friends) might be beneficial to relieve some stress on the patient. Further, if the patient is able to express her feelings to someone that could help to some extent as well. See if a mental health centre near your location provides any counselling services for depression.

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