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Postpartum Psychosis: Assessment Tips for You, Your Loved Ones, Your Medical Providers

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What you need to know
  • Does she or anyone in her family have a history of bipolar illness or previous psychosis?

  • Is she talking or acting in a strange manner that is not characteristic for her?

  • Is she unusually quiet and withdrawn, or speaking rapidly with little concentration, or experiencing rapidly changing moods?

  • Do stories and perceptions that make sense to her, not make sense to you?

  • Does she claim to hear things or see things that others do not?

  • Is she suspicious of others or expressing concern that others are out to get her or trying to harm her in some way?

  • Does she have a decreased need for sleep or food and/or exhibit a high degree of confidence or an exaggerated sense of her capabilities or self-worth?

  • Does she feel or appear abnormally hyperactive with racing thoughts and/or behaviors?

  • Click here for our Postpartum Psychosis Emergency Room Guidelines

What you need to know
  • Do you or anyone in your family have a history of bipolar illness or psychosis?

  • Do you feel you have to hide what you are feeling or thinking so no one knows?

  • Do you feel like a stranger to yourself?

  • Do you feel disconnected from loved ones and friends?

  • Are people telling you that you are speaking or acting differently than you usually do?

  • Do things that make sense to you not make sense to others?

  • Do you have a decreased need for sleep or food and/or feel better than you have ever felt in your life?

  • Are your thoughts racing making you feel unable to concentrate or make decisions?

  • Do you believe you hear things or see things that others do not?

  • Are you suspicious of others or worried that others are out to get you in some way?

  • Do you feel confused or disoriented?

What you need to know
  • If you are your loved ones are concerned about any of the above items - it is imperative that you reach out for professional help to immediately assess the situation.

  • Postpartum psychosis is a severe mental illness.

  • It occurs 1-2 in every 1000 women (0.1%-0.2%) after giving birth.

  • PP has an early and rapid onset, typically the first days, or weeks, after having a baby is born.

  • Symptoms can change quickly. Symptoms also can ebb and flow, with varying degrees of severity.

  • PP is always a psychiatric emergency - Families should go to emergency room or seek help as soon as possible to expedite treatment and reduce risk to mom and baby.

  • Prognosis is very good for a full recovery when help is obtained early.

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