What is postpartum psychosis? Learn more about causes, signs and symptoms and the treatment of postpartum psychosis.
What is postpartum psychosis?
It is a severe form of mental illness which occurs suddenly in a woman, a few
days or weeks after she delivers her baby.
Causes of postpartum psychosis
A few causes of portpartum psychosis include:
Women with a history of mental illness are at greater of suffering from
postpartum psychosis. Extensive research suggests that about 50% of pregnant
women who have previously experienced some type of mental disorder tend to
eventually go through psychosis after giving birth to the baby.
Previous episode of postpartum psychosis
30% of all women who have experienced postpartum psychosis previously often
have another episode of psychosis after the delivery of the baby.
A woman with no history of mental illness might also suffer from psychosis
post-delivery. This usually occurs due to a close relative of the woman with
Multiple factors such as psychological,
inflammatory, hormonal etc. have been investigated by several scientists over
the past few decades but none of these has been identified as a cause of
Signs and symptoms of postpartum psychosis
Since postpartum psychosis is sudden in occurrence, every pregnant woman should
know what signs to look for when she might be at risk of developing postpartum
psychosis. Some of the signs and symptoms are mentioned as under:
It is a condition in which a person remains in a state of elevated levels of
excitement, arousal, and emotions with little to no control over his or her
A patient suffering from postpartum psychosis often experiences episodes of
seeing or hearing things which are not a part of reality.
A psychotic patient might even develop a sense of belief regarding particular
issues or people which is contradicted by real life situations or events.
A condition in which the patient feels sad, dejected and miserable for weeks,
months or in some cases even years. Read more on causes, symptoms and treatment of postnatal depression here.
Diagnosis of postpartum psychosis
Research into postpartum psychosis has been carried
out for the past numerous decades but to no avail. Till now, no screening test
has been developed which might be able to detect this condition. Doctors rely
on medical history and the symptoms of a patient in order to reach a definite
Treatment for postpartum psychosis
Given the severe condition the woman she finds
herself in, its absolutely significant that she be admitted into a hospital
where she would be under the constant supervision of highly skilled clinical
Anti psychotic drugs such as lithium are
administered to the patient to manage the symptoms of mania. Mood stabilizing
drugs or anti depressants could be given to counter depression in the patient.
Electro-convulsive therapy or shock treatment is a
procedure reserved for extremely severe cases of mental disorders in which a
person might be at risk of committing suicide or is considered a danger to
others around the patient. In this procedure controlled batches of electric
currents are passed through the patient’s body for the purpose of treatment.
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