The assignment seeks to explore the problem of anxiety that women face postpartum and during pregnancy. The anxiety disorder is a mental illness that can be treated using the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This is an evidence-based approach that has proven to be effective because of its focus on people’s behavior and thoughts. Anxiety disorder is prevalent among moms-to-be and new moms (Wiegartz & Gyoerkoe, 2009). This mental illness can cause women to experience normal worry which could get worse and become incapacitating fear. Research has shown that the number of women who experience anxiety disorder while pregnant or postpartum ranges from 5% to 16% (Wiegartz & Gyoerkoe, 2009). Additionally, there are several women who have anxiety disorders that do not meet the criteria for being diagnosed formally but affect their normal functioning.
The book I selected is titled, “The Pregnancy and Postpartum Anxiety Workbook: Practical Skills to Help You Overcome Anxiety, Worry, Panic Attacks, Obsessions and Compulsions” authored by Pamela Wiegartz and Kevin Gyoerkoe. The book provides insight on how to identify anxiety symptoms. Thereafter, it offers the appropriate strategies that can be used in dealing with various kinds of symptoms. The anxiety disorder falls under the cognitive category of treatment. As such, the treatment method is known as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as it is able to impact on an individual’s thoughts. CBT relies on the concept that it is a person’s thoughts or behavior that influence their mood (Wiegartz & Gyoerkoe, 2009). Therefore, this treatment option seeks to change people’s feeling by changing their actions and way of thinking. CBT involves strategies that give women information regarding depression and anxiety as well as the self-strategies that can be used to deal with such problems. In essence, it gives new mothers and would be moms the techniques and tools that can enable them manage anxiety without the need to take medication. The book was written to women who have already given birth, are pregnant or are planning to have a baby. Kevin Gyoerkoe and Pamela Wiegartz wrote the book so that they could assist women evaluate their anxiety symptoms. In addition, they have provided techniques that women can use to manage or eliminate their anxiety. Furthermore, the book has targeted partners/spouses as it has given suggestions they can use to help women deal with anxiety in an effective manner.
According to Kaczkurkin and Foa (2015), CBT is a skills-focused treatment that aims to alter a patient’s maladaptive responses in their emotions by focusing to change the thoughts or behavior of such an individual or sometimes even both. In this regard, I believe CBT is a good treatment because the therapeutic skills are focused on a particular issue that is of concern to a patient. For instance, a patient may experience anxiety disorder because she fears that she may experience complications during delivery. In this situation, the psychotherapist will focus on eliminating such fears and give assurance that the delivery process will be smooth. The CBT treatment is effective because a patient is not required to take medication that would expose them or their child to the risks associated with medicines. Another reason CBT is an appropriate method of treatment is that it enables women to learn effective techniques to manage their anxiety both at the present and in future (Wiegartz & Gyoerkoe, 2009). In addition, there is a lower likelihood for patients who undergo CBT to relapse. As such, patients will not have to deal with the mental illness all over again. The first main reason is that it does not involve the use of medication and thus is not risky for the mother or unborn child. To begin with, CBT involves engaging in safe activities and is thus not a risky treatment option. Some of the activities involve keeping a diary to monitor cognitive behavior, attending regular discussion sessions with the counselor and calming both the mind and body (Davis, 2018). Secondly, CBT takes a short period of time and is thus safe. An individual can attend about twenty therapy sessions and be well because it mainly involves changing one’s perception. Thirdly, CBT is a safe process because it largely involves learning. In this regard, people learn to change their thoughts from negative to positive or even learn to challenge the assumptions they hold.
Indeed, CBT equips patients with the appropriate methods for managing their disorder. To begin with, CBT is an effective method for reducing the symptoms associated with anxiety disorders (Hofmann, Wu & Boettcher, 2014). For instance, a mother-to-be can practice relaxation skills in order to avoid worrying. It is possible for a woman who is pregnant to be worried that she may give birth to a baby who has birth defects (Wiegartz & Gyoerkoe, 2009). As such, the expectant mother can embrace ways such as deep breathing that will enable her relax thereby reducing her worry. Secondly, the patient will acquire appropriate techniques to deal with their problem both now and in the future. For example, a patient can engage in physical activity to alleviate anxiety and avoid using drugs or alcohol to deal with such symptoms. Thirdly, a person acquires skills to challenge their distorted thinking. For instance, a patient can learn to face a situation they fear in order to eliminate their wrong assumption.
Patients who undergo CBT are unlikely to relapse. One of the reasons for this is that this treatment method highly engages an individual. Usually, the treatment is collaborative and involves both the counselor and the patient (Davis, 2018). Therefore, it is not easy for a patient to relapse when they are actively involved in their recovery. Secondly, the patient will be accountable for the outcome of their therapy. For instance, an expectant mother who is required to relax her muscles thrice a day as part of therapy is accountable for her progress because she has a role to play in her treatment journey. Thirdly, CBT is problem-focused and goal-oriented unlike the use of medication. In this regard, CBT will deal with anxiety by replacing an individual’s thoughts with thinking that is accurate and realistic (Wiegartz & Gyoerkoe, 2009). This makes it difficult to relapse as the treatment has focused on dealing with the actual problem.
There is no doubt that anxiety during pregnancy and after delivery is a serious mental illness. It is for this reason that it became necessary to analyze the issue of anxiety faced by new mothers and moms-to-be. Indeed, CBT is the appropriate treatment for the anxiety disorder due to its immense benefits. Specifically, CBT allows a patient to recover without getting exposed to health risks like is the case for medication treatment. Additionally, it equips individuals with the appropriate tools to manage their illness both in the short and long-term. More importantly, there is a lower likelihood of relapse when compared to medication treatment.
Davis, K. (2018). How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work? Retrieved from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/296579.php
Hofmann, S. Wu, J. & Boettcher, H. (2014). “Effect of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety Disorders on Quality of Life: A Meta-Analysis.” J Consult Clin Psychol. 82(3): 375-391. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4029924/
Kaczkurkin, A. & Foa, E. (2015). Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety Disorders: An Update on the Empirical Evidence. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience. 17(3): 337-346. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4610618/
Wiegartz, P. S., & Gyoerkoe, K. L. (2009). The pregnancy & postpartum anxiety workbook: Practical skills to help you overcome anxiety, worry, panic attacks, obsessions, and compulsions. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.