Postpartum Psychosis Treatment and Symptoms


A person sitting on a bed

Postpartum Psychosis is a rare condition that affects women immediately after childbirth. The mother may feel depressed, feared, worried, and anxious feelings boost up that may bring dangerous thoughts within the patients. Though it’s a rare condition, with recent research many others are found to be affected by this condition after childbirth. But the condition is taken to a serious mental disorder in just one or two cases only. Many doctors feel this postpartum psychosis is a serious disorder that highly affects mental health and is dangerous to both mother and the child.

Symptoms Based on Postpartum Psychosis

A hand holding a cell phone

In this case, the patient may start to go with the unreal work and lose touch with reality. With few case studies, women are suspected and found to be affected by bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and a few mental disorders. This condition is diagnosed with patients just within 1 or 2 weeks of delivery and the occurrence is immediate. Different patients are found with different symptoms including

  1. Delusions – believing in unreal things and incidents
  2. Hallucinations – auditory and visual illusions
  3. Agitation
  4. Increased energy or sex feelings
  5. Depression, anxiety, and confusion
  6. Severe insomnia  – lack of sleep
  7. Paranoia and suspicious feelings
  8. Extreme mood swings
  9. Feeling less connected and affectionate with the baby
  10. Discomfort with place and time
  11. Thoughts leading to behaviour and violent behaviour

The symptoms may not clearly explain the patient’s condition

Risks Factors of Postpartum Psychosis

Postpartum psychosis can be affected if any family member or yourself has bipolar disorder or manic episodes that are left untreated for a prolonged period. Though the exact reasons are unknown, many believe that this condition is due to abnormal hormonal changes during the pregnancy period. Especially the condition is quite normal:

  1. First baby delivery
  2. Unplanned pregnancy
  3. Varied mood and emotions during pregnancy
  4. Stopping psychiatric medication while pregnant
  • Have bipolar disorder
  • Have  postpartum psychosis in a previous pregnancy
  • Schizoaffective disorder

Treatment Involved in Curing postpartum psychosis

In case of emergency, it is important to contact the 911 number and seek immediate help from the doctors. The patients must be treated in the emergency centre or impatient centre for some days or weeks until the patient’s mood swings become normal and stabilized and until the baby and mother are safe and secure. Following medications are given:

  1. Antipsychotics like risperidone, olanzapine, ziprasidone, and aripiprazole are used to reduce the incidence of hallucinations. 
  2. Mood stabilizers like carbamazepine, lamotrigine, Divalproex, etc are used to reduce manic episodes.

Since different women are affected with a different form of the condition and different symptoms, one particular medication will not prove to be useful. Combinations of drugs will give a better result in treatment. In case the medications are found to be less effective for treating the patient then the next step is to choose like giving therapies.

The most common therapy used is electroconvulsive shock therapy (ECT) and is found to be better and effective. In this therapy, electromagnetic rays are used to treat and stimulate the patient’s brain. This would create a storm or seizure-like activity in the patient’s brain. This can reset the imbalances caused by psychotic episodes. ECT has been used for years by doctors for many years in treating major depression and bipolar disorder.

Conclusion

Thus postpartum psychosis affects the women in the early days of delivery and caring for them and treating them is very much essential to avoid serious mental disorders. As this condition affects the child’s growth and development, it is important to diagnose in the early stage itself.

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