Postpartum Depression Specialist

Kirsten Thompson, M.D. -  - Psychiatrist

Kirsten Thompson, M.D.

Psychiatrist located in Los Angeles, CA

Kirsten Thompson, MD helps women from throughout west Los Angeles recover from intrapartum and postpartum depression with effective and compassionate psychiatric care from her practice located in Brentwood, California. She also provides reproductive psychiatry consultations for women planning pregnancy.

Postpartum Depression Q & A

by Kirsten Thompson, M.D.

What Is Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression is a mood disorder that can occur in women following childbirth. Postpartum depression can occur due to the rapid hormonal changes in a woman’s body following childbirth. These hormonal changes can trigger chemical changes in the brain that lead to feelings of sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that can make it difficult for the mother to bond with the baby, or complete the daily care activities for themselves or others. The sleep deprivation associated with a newborn can also contribute to feelings of depression and have a detrimental effect on a person’s mood. It is very important to note that postpartum depression does not occur because of something that the mother did or didn’t do and no new mother should feel embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help.

How Can I Tell if I Have Postpartum Depression?

Dr. Thompson will complete a psychiatric assessment before completing a diagnosis. However, if you have recently given birth and are experiencing any of the symptoms listed below, it is possible that you are experiencing postpartum depression and should make an appointment for assessment and treatment.

Symptoms can include, but are not limited to:

  • Feelings of sadness, apathy, hopelessness, or being overwhelmed
  • Crying frequently and with no apparent reason
  • Anxiety
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Anger or rage
  • Problems with concentration, memory, and decision making
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Avoiding friends and family
  • Extreme self-doubt, in particular about ability to care for the baby
  • Trouble bonding with the baby
  • Thinking of harming yourself or the baby

How Does Dr. Thompson Treat Postpartum Depression?

The first step in treatment is for Dr. Thompson to perform a thorough assessment, leading to a diagnosis. Once the doctor knows your condition, she will create a customized treatment to address your specific needs. Often, treatment will involve a combination of medication and talk therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy. Dr. Thompson may also suggest interpersonal or family therapy to help not only improve your relationships and communication with this important support network, but also to educate the family on your condition so that they are better equipped to be supportive during your road to recovery.