- Mood swings with alternate phases of manic and depressive phase
- Constant irritability and agitation, restlessness
- Frequent outbursts of anger on others
- Talking very fast and jumping topics in conversation
- Sleeplessness, insomnia and not being able to sleep even when sleepy
- Delusional thoughts, unrealistic imaginations and believing in false things
- Hallucinations – hearing or seeing things that have no real or practical existence
Post-partum psychosis responds well to treatment. Consult your psychiatrist and undergo treatment as soon as it is diagnosed. You need not worry about breastfeeding your baby during medication. Your doctor will prescribe only those antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs which will not harm your baby in any way. In some cases, electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) may be recommended to speed up the recovery process. ECT is a process by which electric currents are passed through the brain. This instantly alters the hormone chemistry in the brain, thereby curing several mental illnesses. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is also another probable solution to postpartum psychosis.
It is different from postnatal depression, which also occurs in new mothers. The symptoms and causes are almost similar to postpartum depression.
“The milder ones are actually defined within the first 6-8 months, after the delivery of the child; if the person suffers a breakdown then they fall under the rubric of postpartum psychosis,” says Dr Brunda Amruthraj, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, ZeitGeist, Bengaluru.
Postpartum disorder is genetic in the sense that if one has a mother, sister or someone in the family with this disorder they are more likely to suffer from it. Research suggests that if a woman is in a high-risk zone for PPD, her chances of developing it post childbirth becomes 1 in 4 women.
Partners of such patients have to be very supportive and caring. The support of friends, relatives and family is very crucial in a serious disorder like this.