How to Deal With Infertility Depression

Submitted by Jenifer on January 17, 2013

Depression that results from learning about your infertility can be very challenging to overcome. In today’s world with careers becoming top priority, more and more people delay having children till they are financially stable. Couples who discover that they may not be able to have children the natural way, are shocked and in denial at first. Apart from dealing with alternate treatment options, they also have to cope with the stress and anxiety of the outcome.


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Counseling for Infertility

While it is common for most individuals to experience sadness, some often go through a more serious manifestation of the psychological trauma when trying to deal with infertility, which is depression. Feeling pangs of sadness is normal, especially during menstrual period. Sadness however does go away after a while, and doesn’t cause too much interference in your daily life.

Depression on the other hand is constant, and starts to interfere even in the most routine daily tasks.

Some common symptoms of depression are:

  • Feeling of haplessness and helplessness
  • Difficulty in sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Constant feelings of worry and anxiety
  • Loss or decrease in appetite or eating too much
  • Wanting to be isolated and don’t feel like interacting with other people
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • No interest in sex
  • Doing things that made you happy previously don’t anymore

Not all people who are faced with infertility go through depression. There are risk factors that could increase the chances of depression in infertility like previous history of depression, family history of depression, age, weak or no support system, and financial status. Depression could either be due to one of these risk factors in isolation or due to a combination of them.

Treatment options

Depression can be treated and there are various treatment options available. These are:

  • Counseling – It helps individuals deal with depression effectively, counselors are not only sounding boards but they also provide an unbiased approach towards treating the psychological factors in infertility. They also help in trying to get individuals to become more realistic if their alternate treatment options fail. Counseling is very beneficial in the treatment of depression in infertility and people experiencing it should be encouraged to opt for it.
  • Support groups – These are of two kinds – Therapist-Led treatment and Peer Groups. Both types of support-networks help individuals cope with the situation by knowing that they are not alone. Peer groups get together once a month and share their experiences with infertility. Therapist-led groups are more formal, weekly, and will most likely include a fee to attend. Although the therapist is only there to help facilitate group conversation and promote healthy boundaries in the group, much of the healing or treatment is done by group members. People are able to voice their emotions in an open forum, where they will be understood. Topics also include alternate options like adoption if treatments don’t work. 
  • Mind and body therapy – There are different types of mind and body therapies to help treat depression like yoga, acupuncture, guided imagery, meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, hypnosis, expressive therapy, art therapy, biofeedback and laughter therapy. All these various forms of therapy aim to relieve stress and promote relaxation. Meditation and yoga aim to work and heal the mind, body and spirit in a holistic way. These therapies and treatments act as coping mechanisms when dealing with infertility and help towards achieving a peaceful and positive mental state.
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