Postpartum Anxiety Syndrome is a condition that can affect women after childbirth.
It usually lasts for a few weeks to several months, and is characterized by feelings of intense anxiety, worry, and fear.
But can postpartum anxiety turn into psychosis? Let’s take a close look.
Can Postpartum Anxiety Turn Into Psychosis?
Proper treatment of postpartum anxiety usually leads to a full recovery. However, in some rare cases, it may progress into Postpartum Psychosis, which is a more serious condition. Postpartum psychosis is rare, occurring in approximately 1 to 2 out of every 1,000 deliveries.
After an episode of psychosis has passed, some mothers may have difficulty bonding with their baby and may feel sad or guilty about missing the opportunity to care for him/her.
However, with support from family and friends, and the right treatment plan most women recover within 6 to 12 months, with the worst symptoms disappearing after 2 to 12 weeks.
What are the symptoms of postpartum psychosis?
Symptoms of postpartum psychosis can include hallucinations, delusions, a manic mood (feeling “high” or “on top of the world”), and a low mood. Symptoms can also be a mixture of both manic and depressive symptoms.
Postpartum psychosis can be difficult to notice and is often misunderstood, but it’s more common than most people think.
If you experience any of these symptoms after giving birth, contact your healthcare provider immediately:
· Feeling very sad or down
· Having trouble bonding with your baby
· Feeling very anxious or worried
· Experiencing intense mood swings
· Feeling like you’re going crazy or losing control
How long after birth can you get postpartum psychosis?
Postpartum psychosis commonly occurs within the first couple weeks. However, it can also develop up to six months after giving birth. It’s important to be aware of the symptoms and know that you’re not alone.
How long does postpartum psychosis last?
Postpartum psychosis usually lasts between six and 12 months. In some cases, it may be followed by periods of extreme anxiety and depression that last for up to two years after treatment is complete.
However, with the right support most women make a full recovery within a few months. It’s important to note that even after an episode of postpartum psychosis has passed, some women may have difficulty bonding with their baby.
Can you get postpartum psychosis after 6 months?
Late onset postpartum psychosis was first seen in the 18th century, with symptoms starting several weeks after giving birth. However, this is rare and most women have symptoms within the first 2 weeks postpartum.
What puts you at risk for postpartum psychosis?
If you’ve had a history of depression, bipolar disorder or postpartum depression, your risk for postpartum psychosis is greater. A personal or family history of bipolar disorder, or a previous psychotic episode can also puts you at higher risk for postpartum psychosis.
Reducing the risk of postpartum psychosis
Women who have a history of bipolar disorder or postpartum psychosis are at high risk for relapse. Although lithium prophylaxis has shown effectiveness, there is controversy about when the treatment should be administered given the possible balance of risks and benefits.
If you have a history of mental illness, talk to your psychiatrist about the risks and how they might apply to you.
When to get medical help
It is important to seek medical help if you or someone you know has symptoms of postpartum psychosis. These symptoms may include hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, and severe mood swings.
Remember that those affected by postpartum psychosis may not realize that anything is wrong, so it’s important for their loved ones to be aware of the signs and take action if necessary.
Treating postpartum psychosis
Postpartum psychosis is a rare but serious mental health condition that can affect women after they have a baby. It is important to seek treatment as soon as possible if you think you or someone you know might be experiencing it. Treatment typically happens in a specialist psychiatric unit called a mother and baby unit (MBU). The goal of treatment is to help the woman recover and get back to her usual self as soon as possible.
Antipsychotics are a class of medications prescribed to help treat symptoms of mania and psychosis. They work by blocking certain receptors in the brain, and are often used in combination with other medications.
Mood stabilisers, such as lithium, are used to control mood and prevent symptoms from recurring. Postpartum psychosis can be a very serious condition that requires immediate treatment, so it is important to get help as soon as possible.
If a woman also experiences significant symptoms of depression after giving birth, her doctor may prescribe an antidepressant in addition to a mood stabiliser.
Psychological therapy, such as CBT, can help manage the condition and improve the mother’s quality of life.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
Electroconvulsive therapy is a type of brain stimulation that is used in cases where other treatments have failed to provide any significant relief or when a patient is likely to develop serious complications.
Postpartum Psychosis vs. Postpartum Depression
It is important to be able to distinguish between postpartum psychosis and postpartum depression because the treatments for the two conditions are different.
Postpartum psychosis is a much more severe disorder that can develop abruptly and at a very high intensity. In contrast, postpartum depression usually lasts for two to three weeks.
Postpartum Psychosis Facts
1. Postpartum psychiatric disorders are fairly common and still pose a great risk for mother, child, and the entire family.
2. Postpartum depression is more commonly addressed than postpartum anxiety due to lack of recognition.
3. The spectrum of potential consequences from postpartum mental health issues was wide and included risks of suicide or infanticide, as well as child’s mental health
Although postpartum anxiety can turn into psychosis, help is available out there for mothers to fully recover.
If you think someone you love is experiencing postpartum psychosis symptoms, make sure you contact their doctor right away.