More Mothers Turning to Prescription Drugs

Some women have turned to antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications to cope with raising children
4:20 | 03/20/13

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Transcript for More Mothers Turning to Prescription Drugs
the pressure to be a perfect mom is everywhere. In magazines where celebrity moms look fabulous. On pinterest where everyday moms appear to be crafting it all. Add to that the daily grind of child care. Momma. Reporter: And there's a reason that more and mormons are turning to the new mommy's little helpers, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. New mom ann marie lindsay says her daily pill regimen wards off paralyzing panic attacks. If I'm not on the meds my mind would race, what if he gets sick? I might have to go in the bathroom and hyper vent late about what if he gets sick. Reporter: Melissa sanchez knows about panic attacks and experienced several after her son was born. What was your darkest moment? I just psychically collapsed. Reporter: Reluctantly he agreed with a therapist's recommendation to start taking celexa to calm her nerves. After about six weeks I was just back to myself. Reporter: Do you think that your anti-anxiety drug helps you be a better mother? Oh, absolutely. I relly don't think that I would have been able to continue to function. I mean I think that I might have had to have been admitted somewhere. Reporter: They're among the growing number of moms who say that taking meds like zoloft and xanax are selfless gestures intended to give their kids happier dhoods but a february parenting magazine article entitles xanax helps me to be a better mom set off an internet firestorm with some critics calling mothers on antidepressants and xanax pathetic. Noting we are using meds to deal with normal sadness. Does it surprise you that moms more now than ever are depending on a little pill to get through the day? It really does not surprise me. Reporter: Michele is a therapist who specializes in mothers and she says medication can be a good thing but only under a doctor's supervision. I think mothers should be thinking of it as I'm going through a hard time and I'm going to use medication to get me through this but it shouldn't be a forever kind of idea. Reporter: Ann mcwilliams calls her time on xanax a temporary fix. The mississippi mom and author of mommy needs a xanax went on the medication when full time parenting felt like just too much. It did get me over a speed bump. It helped to remove me from the high pressure feeling. Reporter: Aware of the addictive nature of xanax ann recently weaned herself off the drug but she like anne marie and melissa says no one should judge moms who turn to med indication. How can you be a good mom if you don't take care of yourself? It helps me a lot to have this medication tool in my toolbox. We want to know that all the women profiled in the piece were under a doctor's care when they were professionally prescribed their medications and for more on this now we want to bring in abc's senior medical contributor, dr. Jennifer ashton and, jen, I want to ask you how do you know when it's right for you. Well, listen, this is a very complicated issue, you guys and the question here is are there women who absolutely need to be on medications for anxiety and for depression which can be debilitating? Absolutely. Are there women at the other end of the spectrum who should not be on these and given as a quick fix by a doctor who doesn't have time to speak to the patient and find out really what's causing the issues, yes and there's a huge group in the mid. So what do women watching right now do? How do you know whether it's postpartum or anxiety and get the help they need. Try to speak to a trained mental health professional and start with our ob/gyn, if you're given these medications it's not for life. Be monitored for side effects. Is the dose correct and that is the end point? For parenting we all know this is not about being perfect. It's about raising a child who's prepared to go into the real Once they see that is not perfect the better off they will be. Overwhelmed isn't a reason enough. That's the daily event in my house. Exactly, my point t. Exactly. Join a support group too. Don't feel like you're alone. You need to get rid of the significant ma. We have one right here, by the way. You have a goal in mind, perhaps to know when to start and when to stop. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Dr. Jennifer ashton, we thank you for that important information.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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