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What To Do When Postpartum Psychosis Sets In

In some societies, when a woman who has just been delivered of a baby starts to show signs of moodiness, depression, paranoia, a rapid deterioration of her mental state and hallucinations, she is termed mad or under the influence of witchcraft. This is a medical condition known as postpartum psychosis or puerperal psychosis.

What has happened is, the woman is yet to mentally come to terms with what her body has just been through hence the feelings of depression and confusion. Signs of this illness usually begin two weeks after delivery and can last up to three months.

Unfortunately, it takes up to a year to recover hence the “validation” of witchcraft belief Postpartum psychosis occurs in one out of seven women.

Women who experience postpartum psychosis are likely to have three or more of the following symptoms:
• Always crying
• anxiety
• mood swings
• utter confusion
• restlessness
• behaviour that is out of character
• talkative
• withdrawn
• insomnia
• feelings of paranoia especially of something happening to your baby
• Hallucination
• Compulsive repetitions of doing something (for example non-stop cleaning)
• Feelings of living in your created world

Often placed side by side with postpartum psychosis is Baby Blues. However, baby blues occurs within the first 10 days in which the new mother experiences mood swings, crying at intervals and becoming anxious within hours or minutes.

While postpartum psychosis can be genetic, it usually happens among women who have a (family) history of bipolar disorder, or mental illness. Do not fret! There are medications that are taken for those at a high risk.

Relatives of people who experience postpartum psychosis are advised to take them to the hospital where they are induced with mood stabilizers or antipsychotic drugs.

After they recover, they are likely to fall ill but this is nothing to be afraid of.
Women who are pregnant should ensure they see a doctor and have a support system to reassure and boost their confidence.

In this article:
Postpartum Psychosis
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