postpartum psychosis

The human mind can play some nasty tricks sometimes, and postpartum psychosis is one of them.

This rare disorder, which affects only one or two mothers for every thousand, can be very dangerous and needs to be treated. It’s important to raise awareness, because even if there are risk factors, it can actually affect anybody.

Nowadays, we’re finally getting some attention towards postnatal depression, another condition that affects new mums and that has remained sort of hidden for a long time. It’s important to speak about this sort of conditions, since due to the pressure felt by the new mother – who thinks of herself as less of a mother due to these contradictory feelings-, they sometimes decide not to speak up and to deal with this themselves. That is the most dangerous part: If women who suffer from postpartum depression need professional help, women who suffer from postpartum psychosis need it even more, and with more urgency.

But what is postpartum psychosis, exactly? Don’t miss the following lines to find out more about this rare disorder.

 

What is postpartum psychosis? 

Postpartum psychosis, also called puerperal psychosis or postnatal psychosis, is a mental illness that affects some women (1 or 2 every 1.000) after having a baby. It usually appears early after birth, as soon as hours after the baby is born or during the first four weeks.

Theresa Twomey, author of Understanding Postpartum Psychosis: A Temporary Madness, and a victim of the disorder as well, defines it as:

A different reality superimposed onto this reality. It’s like watching a TV show and believing that it’s perfectly normal for the actors to be speaking to you. 

It is different from postnatal depression, even if they have some things in common: whereas the clinical profile of postpartum depression is mostly apathy and a deep sadness, together with feelings of guilt and rejection for the baby, postpartum psychosis symptoms are more related to paranoia and hallucinations. 

And why does it happen? Well, that is hard to say, since doctors aren’t really sure. There are certain risks factors, and some blame the hormonal disorders and fluctuations, as well as sleep deprivation. However there seems to be a genetic cause, since women who have a family history of postpartum psychosis are more likely to develop it.

These are the risk factors of postpartum psychosis:

  • Having had postpartum psychosis before: in fact, this is the most important risk factor, since women who have suffered it are likely to suffer another episode in subsequent pregnancies.

  • Having a history of mental illness: women who suffer from schizophrenia or bipolar disorder are more likely to suffer it.

  • Having a family history of postpartum psychosis or just psychosis.

Finally, it is important to highlight what doesn’t cause postpartum psychosis: Doctors may have not been able to find a clear cause, but what does not cause it is indeed very clear. Postpartum psychosis isn’t caused by anything the mother has done wrong. It’s not due to stress, or due to having problems at home. If you suffer from postpartum psychosis, do not feel guilty: you did nothing to trigger it.

 

The symptoms of postpartum psychosis

This disorder needs treatment as soon as possible, so it’s important to be aware of the signs that indicate it. These are the most frequent symptoms of puerperal psychosis:

  • Lots of unnatural energy: if you feel you have more energy that you’ve ever had before, and feel especially great – no sign of exhaustion even if you just had a baby. In fact, you are all the time doing things that need to be done, and talk and think very fast. You also feel unique and special, like nobody else in the world.

  • But also a lack of energy: signs of depression can also be a symptom – of course, if they are accompanied by others in this list. Anxiety, loss of appetite and a deep sadness are symptoms to watch out for.

  • Hallucinations: seeing and hearing things that don’t actually exist. Hearing voices is a common one.

  • Delusions: You believe things that are just not possible or very unlikely.

  • You have paranoia: You suddenly don’t trust your loved ones or hear voices that tell you they will want to hurt you or the baby. The voices could also tell you that you should hurt them – or even the baby.

  • Lack of sleep or restlessness.

  • Confusion.

Yes, it sounds quite unbelievable – but the signs of postpartum psychosis are similar to any other kind of psychosis, which means, in other words, losing your mind. Psychosis is a serious mental illness, however temporary, and it needs to be considered as a medical emergency.

However, with treatment, most women who suffer an episode of postpartum psychosis recover just fine. Yes, they may suffer another one in a future pregnancy, but the prognosis is especially good and the treatment response is fast. However, it needs to be caught on time, or else it could get worse or have awful consequences. The new mother who is suffering from postpartum psychosis may not be aware of it, and it could end up hurting herself or even the baby.

If you think someone you know may be having an episode, contact your GP immediately: they will know what to do. You can also call NHS 111, or 999 if you think there is an immediate danger. If you or your partner are at risk of suffering postpartum psychosis because you identify with the risk factors, talk to your doctor during pregnancy. You can design a care plan so you have a crisis team available if an episode takes place.

 

How is postpartum psychosis treated?

Fortunately, the response to the treatment is usually very good. Hospitalisation may be necessary, but it will be the doctor who will assess it depending on the case and the risks. However, the ideal situation is that the new mother is admitted to a psychiatric mother and baby unit, so they can keep bonding with their baby. It is also useful for them to understand that what is happening to them is in no way related to their value or their capability as a mother.

They will also be treated with medication, which will include one or more of the following:

  • Antipsychotics: They block the effects of dopamine, which is the chemical responsible of giving information to the brain.

  • Antidepressants: They will balance the moods and help with depression, irritability and confusion.

  • Mood stabilisers.

Of course, the doctors will test how these different drugs are working in case they have to change the course of treatment, and will also consider breastfeeding and other conditions the mother with postpartum psychosis will be suffering. 

Now that you know that this is a possibility, try to consider your options without panicking. First of all, remember that the disorder is rare; second, remember that the treatment is usually very effective, and with the help and support of your loved ones, you wouldn’t have any problem bonding with your baby after an episode. If you suffer an episode of postpartum psychosis, you may need a while to recover your self-confidence and to feel secure with yourself – that is completely normal.

You can get support at several charities and forums, like the Action Postpartum Psychosis, PANDAS and the Association for Post Natal Illness.

 

Postpartum psychosis is a form of mental illness and, unfortunately, in our society there is still a taboo about mental illness. But, as any other disorder, it can be cured and you 

 

Need help? Ask other mummies in CaptainMums' forum!

 

Overall Rating (0)

0 out of 5 stars

Leave your comments

Post comment as a guest

0
Your comments are subjected to administrator's moderation.

People in this conversation

  • Guest - anastasia

    This is such a great Blog. I really enjoyed reading everyone’s articles. I find so much to love about your blog. Thanks for sharing to us.

    Comment last edited on about 2 years ago by CaptainMums
    Like 0 Short URL:

Activity Stream

Aksha added a reply in discussion Do you play sports?... 2 days ago

I play tennis once a week, I like this game very much. Also I like to visit different championships and watch games online. All live and upcoming events I check on https://777score.ng/, it is website where you can check results of football, basketball, hockey and tennis matches....

Cherry2 added a reply in discussion Do you play sports?... 2 days ago

I like basketball. I even training in university....

Sancsa started a new discussion What ways of wall decor do you... 2 days ago

What ways of wall decor do you know?...

Sancsa started a new discussion Do you play sports?... 2 days ago

Do you play sports? If so, what exactly?...

Sancsa added a reply in discussion How to save money on hotel boo... 2 days ago

One of the way that I know is to use special coupons with discounts. For example recently I made a booking on Hotels.com and use coupon from https://www.firstordercode.com/shop/ca.hotels.com and save 20% of price. Not every people know about such things, so I recomennd you to try)...

Cherry2 added a reply in discussion Where do you buy underwear?... 2 days ago

MeUndies is good choice for this purpose. It is natural fabric, that will not irritate your skin in its most sensitive parts. Really high quality products. By the way If you want to buy something here I recommend you to check these coupons https://www.firstordercode.com/shop/meundies.com you can save a lot of money with them....

Aksha added a reply in discussion How to save money on hotel boo... 3 days ago

You can get lower prices through unpublished deals and exclusive network deals through the Hotel /network or an OTA. Hotel rates tend to change very frequently. Unlike flights, you don’t get the best prices for booking early. Hotels try to achieve maximum occupancy and tend to offer deals. Sometimes, they offer the lowest prices when you book cl...

Bellatry added a reply in discussion Where do you buy underwear?... 3 days ago

I prefer La Senza, good shop with good prices. And of course I always search discounts...

Bellatry started a new discussion How to save money on hotel boo... 3 days ago

How to save money on hotel booking?...

Sancsa started a new discussion Where do you buy underwear?... 3 days ago

Where do you buy underwear? Can you recommend some online shops in Canada?...

ESO201722 shared a photo. 1 week ago
Aksha added a reply in discussion Birthday gift for my husband?... 1 week ago

You can choose some optics, for example binoculars. I think for hunter it will be great gift! Here you can check some popular models from good brand ATN https://www.atncorp.com/smart-hd-binocular...

Sancsa added a reply in discussion Birthday gift for my husband?... 1 week ago

I think it will be hard to choose something good in football and hunting without advices from your husband or his good friends. Maybe some of them can will help you...

Bellatry started a new discussion Birthday gift for my husband?... 1 week ago

What can you recommend? He like football and hunting...

Sancsa added a reply in discussion When you buy equipment such as... 2 weeks ago

I'm currently considering buying binoculars for birdwatching. I'm just hesitating between the Minox BL 8x44 HD binoculars and ATN BINOX-HD 4-16x digital binoculars. Second variant provide better characteristics, I've seen on https://www.atncorp.com/smart-hd-binocular official website. Can you help me to decide?...

ESO201722 added a new event 2 weeks ago

How can you miss Rs3gold 60% off 3500M RS gold &750M OSRS...

Hi boys,In order to celebrate osrs mobile release ,...

  • Wednesday, 10 October 2018 10:45 AM
  • USA
Aksha added a reply in discussion When you buy equipment such as... 2 weeks ago

You should definitely buy binoculars. They last forever, and you can move them between tanks for free, so you only need 1 (or maybe 2 for convenience)....

Cherry2 started a new discussion When you buy equipment such as... 2 weeks ago

When you buy equipment such as binocular telescope, do you need to buy a new one every match?...

fengli524 has earned new badge Sherlock Holmes... 2 weeks ago

fengli524 started a new discussion Free runescape money on Rsorde... 2 weeks ago

Computer games My drugs of choice have in the past been WoW pretty hard runescape gold for sale core, Minecraft, and console games such as Fallout 3 and New Vegas, Assassin's Creed, etc. Problem right now is lack of good gaming computer, and our best computer's monitor is our TV and the hubs is a TV hog (which is fine). A professional Game websi...

Aksha added a reply in discussion Outsourcing benefits for small... 2 weeks ago

Outsourcing can provide a number of long-term benefits: - Control capital costs - Increase efficiency - Reduce labor costs - Start new projects quickly - Focus on your core business - Level the playing field - Reduce risk. But if you want to get all these results you need to find good developers. Recently I read that Kyiv is one of the most...

Cherry2 added a reply in discussion Outsourcing benefits for small... 2 weeks ago

There are so many benefits to outsourcing, and the list can be different for every company. It all depends on your budget, your team, goals, and capabilities....

Sancsa started a new discussion Outsourcing benefits for small... 2 weeks ago

What benefits do you know?...

Tom Cruise is my favorite actor in Hollywood. He has done a fabulous job in Rock of Ages movie. Tom is the only son (among four children) of nomadic parents, Mary Lee (Pfeiffer), a special education teacher, and Thomas Cruise Mapother III, an electrical engineer. His parents were both from Louisville, Kentucky, and he has German, Irish, and Englis...

EnriqueMangan started a new discussion What are the guidelines for wr... 3 weeks ago

If you ask any student what is the most boring and tedious part of your scholar life, more than 90 % students will answer “dissertation writing” and it should be. I am struggling with my academic paper works. Now it is difficult for me to identify top dissertation writing service from the fake and scam sites. I have heard that this top dissertation...