Being a mother is a significant and transformational experience, but it may also bring unanticipated and stressful mental health concerns for some women. Postpartum psychosis is one such disorder that can cloud what could be one of the most wonderful times in a woman’s life.
Postpartum psychosis is a condition that requires our attention and empathy. It is an uncommon but severe mental health condition that typically develops in the first few weeks following delivery. While it affects only approximately 1 to 2 out of every 1,000 new moms, the consequences can be severe, impacting not only the mother but also her family and support network.
Let’s take a look into this condition, its symptoms, probable causes of puerperal psychosis, and successful treatment choices, to provide support and understanding for both moms and their loved ones.
What Is Postpartum Psychosis?
Postpartum psychosis is a serious mental condition characterised by the sudden development of psychotic symptoms. Some of its symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, and a disorganised thought process.
Postpartum psychosis, unlike more common postpartum mental health concerns like sadness or anxiety, is very uncommon but can be disruptive and stressful.
Women who suffer from post puerperal psychosis frequently struggle with intrusive ideas and beliefs that might be utterly irrational. It’s important to stress that this condition is a medical issue that calls for quick and caring attention rather than a reflection of a mother’s abilities or personality.
Symptoms Of Postpartum Psychosis
Symptoms of this condition include rapid mood swings, hallucinations, and delusions / Image credit: Freepik
Delusions are irrational thoughts that people cling to despite evidence to the contrary with firm belief. These delusions in postpartum psychosis usually centre around themes relating to the baby’s safety or well-being. For instance, a mother can think that her child is not truly hers or that outside forces are posing a threat to the child.
Hallucinations involve perceiving things that are not real. Post puerperal psychosis in new moms can include auditory hallucinations, such as hearing voices, telling them to do bad things. They may also experience visual hallucinations, which worsen their disorientation and discomfort by making them see things that aren’t there.
Speaking incoherently, feeling disoriented, or having trouble focusing are all signs of disorganised thinking. It may be difficult for affected people to express themselves effectively or engage in rational conversations. This confusion of thinking adds to an overall feeling of turmoil.
Extreme Mood Swings
Puerperal psychosis can cause mood changes that range from acute aggression to intense grief or enthusiasm. For the mother, it might be difficult to control her emotions because these mood changes can be abrupt and unanticipated.
Rapid Changes in Behaviour
New moms suffering from puerperal psychosis may display unpredictable or impulsive behaviour, which can be dangerous to their own and their baby’s health. They may engage in behaviours that they would not normally participate in, emphasising the seriousness of the condition.
Sleep difficulties are normal throughout the postpartum period, but they can be very severe in postpartum psychosis. Sleep deprivation can increase symptoms and make coping even more difficult. During the night, mothers may suffer increased anxiety and paranoia. To get better sleep at night, try aromatherapy or invest in soothing post pregnancy products that help in relaxation and also tackle common postpartum body struggles, such as back ache and muscle pain.
Post puerperal psychosis frequently shows up as paranoia. Affected women may become overly distrustful of everyone, even their family members, and fear they are being mistreated or manipulated. This intense distrust can disrupt relationships and heighten the sense of loneliness that many women suffering from postpartum psychosis feel.
Having Thoughts of Self Harm or The Baby
Puerperal psychosis can cause thoughts of self-harm or harm to the child in certain circumstances. It is important to understand that while these ideas are disturbing, they do not always signify a desire to act on them. However, to ensure the mother and the child’s protection, they require quick attention and action.
Causes Of Postpartum Psychosis
Understanding the possible causes of postpartum psychosis is an important first step towards successful treatment and prevention. While the precise reasons are unknown, various variables may contribute to its development.
Hormone fluctuations during pregnancy and delivery may have a role in developing post puerperal psychosis in certain people. After birth, the quick reduction in oestrogen and progesterone levels can have a major influence on mood and cognition.
Puerperal psychosis is more likely to occur in those with a family history of mental illness, particularly schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. The illness may be brought on by a combination of genetic causes, hormone changes, and stresses.
Lack Of Sleep
Sleep deprivation is typical in the early postpartum period, and it can worsen mental health difficulties. Sleep deprivation can cause cognitive impairment and unstable emotions, which may contribute to the development of postpartum psychosis. For general well-being, getting enough rest and sleep is essential.
The chance of having postpartum psychosis might be raised by factors such as having a difficult pregnancy, challenging childbirth, or insufficient social support. High-stress levels might make it more difficult for new moms to deal with the responsibilities of parenting and their shifting roles.
History Of Mental Disorders
People who have experienced postpartum psychosis before or who have a history of mental health problems are more likely to have it again. For healthcare professionals to offer suitable assistance and treatment, they must be aware of this vulnerability.
Postpartum Psychosis Treatment
Seek support from experts and prioritise self care to enhance your overall well-being / Image credit: Freepik
In many circumstances, hospitalisation is required to guarantee the mother’s and her baby’s safety. A supportive and safe setting can help with stabilisation and therapy. Hospitalisation allows medical personnel to closely monitor the mother’s health and make any required measures.
Antipsychotic drugs are often prescribed to treat psychotic symptoms. These drugs can improve a mother’s capacity for rational thought and emotional control. Healthcare professionals must carefully assess the advantages of a medicine against any possible threats, especially for nursing moms.
Individual or group therapy can give emotional support and teach coping methods for dealing with the problems of puerperal psychosis. Supportive treatment and cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) may be very helpful. These treatments help women understand their thoughts and feelings while also giving them useful coping skills.
Self Care and Sleep
Recovery depends on making sleep and self care a priority. To make sure they have time for self-care, new moms should relax whenever possible and seek support from loved ones. Stress management practises such as relaxation and mindfulness can also be beneficial. To better this approach, you should look into some postpartum self care tips and incorporate them into your daily routine.
Support from Family and Friends
A solid connection with friends and family is priceless. Loved ones can provide emotional support, help with childcare, and reassurance. Promoting open communication and lowering the stigma associated with mental health concerns can help to create a supportive atmosphere.
Education and Coping Mechanisms
Postpartum psychosis education and coping skills can help moms and their families better understand the condition and handle the challenges it presents. Uncertainty and anxiety can be reduced by understanding, making it simpler to help a suffering mother on her journey to recovery.
Postpartum psychosis is a serious condition that requires our attention and awareness. While transforming into a new mother can be a terrifying and traumatic experience, recovery is achievable with the correct treatments and support. If you or someone you know is suffering from postpartum psychosis, get emergency medical attention.
Remember moms, you’ve got this! Even though your path may be difficult, with the correct help, you may recover from postpartum psychosis and emerge stronger, prepared to enjoy having children. During this trying period, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance and support. The two things that matter the most are your and your child’s health.
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Cover Image Credit: Freepik.com