Handling Postpartum Psychosis

The disorder of postpartum psychosis was recognized for the first time in the 1850s and it is considered to be a serious mental condition that needs immediate medical help. The number of women affected by the disorder didn’t change much compared to the number registered in the 1800s.

Postpartum Psychosis

What is the psychosis that occurs postpartum?

This is considered to be the most serious kind of the postpartum mood problems and in the same time it is also the rarest. It can be described as the period of time for which women simply lose touch with reality. It usually appears in case of women who recently gave birth. About 0.1%-0.2% of women are affected.

The truth is that a lot of women recognize that they have a problem, but only about 20% of them actually see their doctor about after birth psychosis. Sadly in some cases the problem is misdiagnosed, the doctors thinking that it is postpartum depression so women don’t receive the care that they need.

Those women who are treated for postpartum psychosis usually respond well to the treatment. However they might have to go through postpartum depression before reaching a full recovery. If women don’t receive any treatment, the consequences could be tragic. The suicide rate in this case is of 5%.

Signs of psychosis after birth

The signs can appear anytime within 3 months of the birth of the child, but usually they can be noticed 2-3 weeks after childbirth. The signs normally appear quite suddenly. There might be a 3-14 days period after the first signs of the psychosis and the actual onset of the disorder.

The most common symptoms of postpartum psychosis include hallucinations, illogical thoughts, delusions, insomnia, experiencing agitation and anxiety, refusal to eat, periods of mania or delirium and thoughts of homicide or suicide.

Women at risk

Those women have higher risks of being affected by postpartum emotional disorder that have some history of psychosis, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder. Similarly the women who have family history of these disorders also have higher chances of being affected. Past experience with the disorder also increases the chances of experiencing it again.

Causes of the disorder

The truth is that the specialists don’t really know why postpartum psychosis appears. Nonetheless they can offer some explanations and on the top of their list is the fact that women have changing levels of hormones during the postpartum period. Another cause might be the lack of emotional and social support.

It is also possible for the emotional disorder in the postpartum period to be caused by a low self-esteem because of the appearance of women. Some women feel like they aren’t suitable to be mothers and they might also feel alone and isolated. The financial problems could also contribute to this problem.

As you can see postpartum psychosis is a serious problem and if you experience any signs of it, you should see a doctor about it as soon as you can so that you will receive proper treatment.


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