Postpartum Psychosis

Washington Center for Women's and Children's Wellness (WCWCW) -  - Child, Adolescent, Women’s & Reproductive Psychiatry

Washington Center for Women's and Children's Wellness (WCWCW)

Child, Adolescent, Women’s & Reproductive Psychiatry located in Bethesda, MD, Baileys, VA, Miami, FL, & Ann Arbor, MI,

Postpartum Psychosis is a rare illness, compared to the rates of postpartum depression or anxiety. It occurs in approximately 1 to 2 out of every 1,000 deliveries, or approximately .1 -.2% of births. The onset is usually sudden, most often within the first 2 weeks postpartum.

Postpartum psychosis is temporary and treatable with professional help, but it is an emergency and it is essential that you receive immediate help and often, a brief hospitalization. WCWCW reproductive psychiatrists will work with your Ob/Gyn and your family to get you the help you need at this critical time.

Postpartum psychosis is a rare condition that typically develops within the first week after delivery — the signs and symptoms are severe. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Obsessive thoughts about your baby
  • Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)
  • Delusions or strange beliefs
  • Decreased need for or inability to sleep
  • Excessive energy and agitation
  • Rapid Mood Swings
  • Paranoia and suspiciousness
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

Postpartum psychosis may lead to life-threatening thoughts or behaviors and requires immediate treatment.

The most significant risk factors for postpartum psychosis are a personal or family history of bipolar disorder, or a previous psychotic episode.

The majority of women who experience postpartum psychosis do not harm themselves or anyone else. However, there is always the risk of danger because psychosis includes delusional thinking and irrational judgment, and this is why women with this illness must be quickly assessed, treated, and carefully monitored by a trained reproductive psychiatrist.

How is Postpartum Psychosis Treated?

Postpartum psychosis is temporary and treatable with professional help, but it is an emergency and it is essential that you receive immediate help. If you feel you or someone you know may be suffering from this illness, know that it is not your fault and you are not to blame. 

Call your doctor, WCWCW or an emergency crisis hotline right away so that you can get the help you need. Postpartum psychosis requires immediate treatment, usually in the hospital. Treatment may require a combination of medications — such as antipsychotic medications, mood stabilizers and benzodiazepines — to control your signs and symptoms.

WCWCW reproductive psychiatrists will work with your Ob/Gyn to get you the help you need at this critical time. After assuring your safety, call WCWCW right away.