Post-natal Depression (PND) is a depressive disorder that causes significant distress or impairment on different levels in the individual's life and their families. There is already evidence of the efficacy of psychological treatments for PND. We conducted a narrative review and researched the literature for identifying systematic reviews and studies for the best psychological treatments of PND, and examined what parameters made those treatments successful.
We searched 4 electronic databases. We included reviews and randomised controlled clinical trials for our research. We excluded other types of studies such as case studies and cohort studies. We followed a specific search strategy with specific terms and a selection process. We identified risk of bias in reviews and studies, and identified their limitations. We synthesized the data based on particular information, including: name of the authors, location, research type, target, population, delivery, outcome measures, participants, control groups, types of intervention, components of treatments, providers, experimental conditions amongst others.
We found 6 reviews and 15 studies which met our inclusion criteria focusing on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for PND. Among the main findings we found that CBT can be delivered on an individual basis or within a group. It can be effective in the short-term, or up to six months post-intervention. CBT can be delivered by professionals or experts, but can also be practiced by non-experts. We found 7 components of CBT, including psychoeducation, cognitive restructuring, and goal setting. We also researched whether virtual reality (VR) has ever been used for the treatment of PND, and found that it has not.
From our review, we have concluded that CBT is an effective treatment for PND. We have explored the utility of VR as a possible therapeutic modality for PND and have decided to run a pilot feasibility study as a next step, which will act as the foundational guide for a clinical trial at a later stage.