What is the Postpartum Psychosis: Definition and Symptoms

While postpartum depression is a pretty common condition, found in at least 1 of every 8 women; luckily postpartum psychosis is a pretty rare condition. This condition is found in 1 of every 1 000 women after the delivery or miscarriage. Let us take a look at its symptoms and some examples on it.

So, what is postpartum psychosis? It is a mental disease, which develops in women rapidly after the delivery. As a rule, this psychosis develops during the first few weeks after the parturition and has some specific symptoms to deal with. Besides, it is a condition, which can be inherited from former generations in your family.

Main postpartum psychosis symptoms:

* Highly increased irritability
* Uncontrolled emotions and mood swings
* Voice hallucinations
* Increased activity
* Suspiciousness
* Inability to communicate
* Insomnia
*  Delusions
* Suicidal thoughts or attempts
* Thoughts about or actions aimed at harming or killing babies

These and some other symptoms may indicate a postpartum psychosis in women. Some of these symptoms can be strongly manifested and lead to the necessity to hospitalize a woman in a psychiatric institution.

A woman with such form of psychosis can become a threat to her own children. This statement is backed up by one of the most outstanding and sad examples of postpartum psychosis – Andrea Yates. This woman has developed a severe form of this psychosis, which has grown with every new baby she has born. She had five children and after having the fifth one, her psychoses made her completely deteriorate. Eventually, she has killed all the five children by drowning them in a tub.

This sad example of postpartum or puerperal psychosis indicates the seriousness of the situation and urgent need in treatment. The good news is this mental condition is treatable and temporary. If women or their family members seek help timely, the tragic outcomes of psychosis can be avoided.

However, there is a big difference between postpartum depression and psychosis. Women, suffering from the first mentioned condition should also seek adequate help and timely treatment. Sometimes, PPD can worsen to psychosis. This is another reason to get a timely treatment for it.

The problem with both of these conditions is that they do not manifest right after the parturition, when a woman is under the supervision of doctors. Most of the symptoms start manifesting 4 to 8 weeks after the delivery. This indicates the need for alertness and high level of responsibility in husbands and other family members of new mothers.  In most cases, mothers are unable to properly evaluate their emotions and symptoms. They tend to blame it on their weakness or inadequacy. They do not consider those symptoms as medical condition and this increases their sense of guilt.

As you may see, timely diagnosing and treatment can prevent the gravest outcomes of postpartum psychosis both for women and their babies. See wikipedia related article for additional info

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