Postpartum psychosis- a medical emergency!

In approximately 1-2 out of every 1,000 births, a woman will experience an illness termed postpartum psychosis. Some common symptoms of this illness include hallucinations, insomnia (inability or lack of perceived need to sleep); delusions (strange beliefs); hyperactivity/rambling/rapid speech; persistent/heightened irritability; paranoia; difficulty communicating and rapid mood swings.

This illness most often has a very rapid onset, occurs soon after delivery and is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Who is at risk? Those who have a history of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia and/or a family history of either of those illnesses. Women who have had a previous psychotic episode are also at great risk.

It is important to note that when a woman is experiencing this illness, the delusions and hallucinations make sense to her but to those around her, what she is experiencing is clearly outside of reality and disturbing to those family members/caregivers. This is indicative of the illness itself. There are GREAT potential risks when Postpartum Psychosis is left untreated- for Mom, baby and others. There is an approximate 5% suicide rate and 4% infanticide rate associated with untreated Postpartum Psychosis.

PLEASE NOTE: not all women who experience Postpartum Psychosis experience delusions with violent commands, nor do all women who experience Postpartum Psychosis end up hurting themselves or others. However, it is IMPERATIVE that a Mom experiencing these symptoms gets the right medical help RIGHT AWAY.

If you are concerned about your health or the health of a loved one, PLEASE, call us (352) 462-9484.

More resources:

National Crisis Hotline: (800) 273-8255 or text the same number

Postpartum Support International psychosis coordinator: Michele Davidson (703) 298-3247

SAMHSA National Helpline: 1-800-662-4357

Action on Postpartum Psychosis (education/resource)