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Postpartum psychosis is a severe mental illness characterized by extreme difficulty in responding emotionally to a newborn baby — it can even include thoughts of harming the child. The condition is different from postpartum depression, though the two conditions may occur together.
Postpartum Psychosis (PP) is a severe, but treatable, form of mental illness that occurs after having a baby. It can happen ‘out of the blue’ to women without previous experience of mental illness. There are some groups of women, women with a history of bipolar disorder for example, who are at much higher risk.
Postpartum psychosis, or puerperal psychosis, is a rare but serious and potentially life-threatening mental health issue. It takes the form of severe depression or mania or both. For the small number of women who experience postpartum psychosis, it occurs in the first three months after birth, usually within the first 2 weeks (NICE, 2014) .
Unlike postpartum blues symptoms, postpartum psychosis is treated as a medical emergency and requires urgent treatment. Most women get committed to a mental hospital, residing either in Mother and Baby units, at the general psychiatric ward, or in postpartum depression treatment centers.
Postpartum psychosis (also known as puerperal psychosis or postnatal psychosis) is a serious mental illness which occurs in a few women in the days or weeks following childbirth. It is extremely important to diagnose and treat it early, as it is a severe illness which puts both the mother and the new baby at risk.
Postpartum psychosis or puerperal psychosis is a mental pathology that affects a very small percentage of women after childbirth.
Postpartum psychosis is a rare psychiatric emergency in which symptoms of high mood and racing thoughts (mania), depression, severe confusion, loss of inhibition, paranoia, hallucinations and delusions set in, beginning suddenly in the first two weeks after childbirth. The symptoms vary and can change quickly. The most severe symptoms last from 2 to 12 weeks, and recovery takes 6 months to a year. About half of women who experience it have no risk factors; but women with a prior history of mental illness, especially bipolar disorder, a history of prior episodes of postpartum psychosis, or a family history are at a higher risk. It is not a formal diagnosis, but is widely used to describe a condition that appears to occur in about 1 in a 1000 pregnancies. It is different from postpartum depression and from maternity blues. It may be a form of bipolar disorder. It often requires hospitalization, where treatment is antipsychotic medication, mood stabilizers, and, in cases of strong risk for suicide, electroconvulsive therapy.
Postpartum depression (PPD), also called postnatal depression, is a type of mood disorder associated with childbirth, which can affect both sexes. Symptoms may include extreme sadness, low energy, anxiety, crying episodes, irritability, and changes in sleeping or eating patterns. Onset is typically between one week and one month following childbirth. PPD can also negatively affect the newborn child. While the exact cause of PPD is unclear, the cause is believed to be a combination of physical and emotional factors. These may include factors such as hormonal changes and sleep deprivation. Risk factors include prior episodes of postpartum depression, bipolar disorder, a family history of depression, psychological stress, complications of childbirth, lack of support, or a drug use disorder. Diagnosis is based on a person's symptoms. While most women experience a brief period of worry or unhappiness after delivery, postpartum depression should be suspected when symptoms are severe and last over two weeks. Among those at risk, providing psychosocial support may be protective in preventing PPD. Treatment for PPD may include counseling or medications. Types of counseling that have been found to be effective include interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and psychodynamic therapy. Tentative evidence supports the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Postpartum depression affects about 15% of women around childbirth. Moreover, this mood disorder is estimated to affect 1% to 26% of new fathers. Postpartum psychosis, a more severe form of postpartum mood disorder, occurs in about 1 to 2 per 1,000 women following childbirth. Postpartum psychosis is one of the leading causes of the murder of children less than one year of age, which occurs in about 8 per 100,000 births in the United States.