POSTPARTUM PSYCHOSIS is a rare but extremely serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. Approximately 1 or 2 out of 1,000 moms will experience postpartum psychosis. Hyperbolic media depictions have greatly contributed to the inaccurate assumptions about the disorder. While you may have been lead to believe that all moms experiencing postpartum psychosis harm themselves or their children, the reality is that 5% of moms with postpartum psychosis commit suicide and 4% commit infanticide. Those statistics are still far too great for a condition that is treatable.
A mom who is suffering from postpartum psychosis experiences a break from reality. In her psychotic state, her hallucinations, delusions and beliefs make perfect sense to her. As opposed to postpartum-OCD, a mom with postpartum psychosis experiences thoughts that are ego-systonic or thoughts that are acceptable to her sense of self.
It’s important to note that many survivors of postpartum psychosis never harm themselves or anyone else, nor do they experience delusions that give them violent commands. However, because a mom with postpartum psychosis is experiencing irrational thinking and judgement, it is imperative that she be evaluated, treated and carefully monitored by a perinatal mental health professional. Please seek immediate medical attention if you or someone you know is experiencing any of the following:
- Feeling paranoid or suspecting that others are out to get you
- Seeing and/or hearing things that no one else does
- Experiencing thoughts of harming yourself or others that you want to act on
- You are unable to sleep and have more energy than you’ve ever had before
- You are irritated by the fact that those around you don’t seem to understand you
What you’re experiencing is very scary and you may fear telling anyone how you feel, but it’s so important you get help. This is a temporary and treatable illness and with the right professional help, you will get better. If you’re a loved one, make sure this mom has 24/7 supervision until she is seen by a health care professional.