Description and characteristic manifestations of postpartum psychosis. How to deal with such a pathology. The main methods of treatment. Postpartum psychosis is a rare mental illness that manifests itself in the first weeks after childbirth. It is characterized by high spirits, unhealthy thoughts that provoke inappropriate behavior. A woman in labor in this state is not aware of her position, which is very dangerous for herself and the newborn child.
What is postpartum psychosis?
Postpartum psychosis in women is a mental disorder when hallucinations and delusions begin after childbirth. The behavior of a woman in labor becomes inadequate when she sees everything around in a suspicious light. Even a newborn may not seem like his own, but someone else's child, they say, he was replaced.
This painful condition occurs in no more than two out of a thousand women in labor. Women who give birth for the first time are 35 times more likely to have postpartum psychosis than those who give birth again.
Not really recovering from childbirth, the young mother becomes tearful, complains of general weakness, bad sleep. Constantly worried that she has little or no milk, then the child will remain hungry. She begins to think that something hurts there, for example, a tummy, because he screams so much.
Unreasonable care leads to an agitated state, fussiness. Suspiciousness develops, delusional ideas appear when it may seem that she has given birth to an unhealthy child or will be taken away. Then suddenly she has a sharp mood swings: she becomes melancholic, dull - falls into a stupor. The loss of strength is accompanied by the loss of all interest in the child. Does not want to breastfeed him, refuses to care for him.
When such symptoms appear even in the hospital, doctors immediately try to stop them, prescribe a certain treatment to bring the woman in labor back to normal. Only after that they are discharged. It is much worse when postpartum psychosis develops at home. If the family did not notice the oddities of the young mother in time, it could end badly for her, the newborn, or both. There have been cases when the mother committed suicide with the baby.
Or such a case. The woman rocks the baby in her arms. Suddenly something came over her: delusional thoughts appear, voices are heard that this is not her baby, he was thrown. In a darkened consciousness, she screams loudly and throws the child on the floor. Here, one cannot do without calling an ambulance and a psychiatric hospital. Treatment can take a long time. In such cases, the baby stays with someone close to him, this puts a heavy burden on the family.
It is necessary to distinguish postpartum psychosis from depression, when after childbirth there are sad thoughts that the former carefree life is already in the past. As a rule, this mood quickly passes, the woman realizes that motherhood imposes on her the responsibility - taking care of the newborn.
The main causes of postpartum psychosis
The psychiatry of postpartum psychosis considers a variety of mental illnesses that cause this condition. Certain character traits also contribute to the development of the disease. For example, excessive suspiciousness can become one of the reasons that leads to disruption of the normal functioning of the psyche after childbirth.
Let's consider all these cases in more detail. Postpartum psychosis can be caused by:
- Genetic predisposition… When, on the female side, one of the relatives was sick with mental illness, for example, schizophrenia.
- Affective insanity… It is characterized by rapid mood swings. Despondency gives way to elation, and vice versa, sadness replaces the cheerful mood.
- Birth canal infection… During childbirth or in the postpartum period, staphylococcus is introduced - bacteria that excite painful processes in the body of a woman in labor. The body temperature rises, tachycardia and muscle pain appear, and the mucous membranes dry out. This provokes an anxious mood. As a consequence, psychosis occurs.
- Increased emotionality… One of the factors in the development of postpartum psychosis. It can manifest itself in women who have not previously had mental abnormalities, but are very emotional, for example, during menstruation.
- Alcohol, drugs, psychotropic drugs… Abuse of alcohol, drugs and certain drugs that stimulate the central nervous system can cause the disease.
- Injury during childbirth… Injuries, tolerated through the oversight of the delivery staff, can lead to health problems for the woman in labor, stress, when gloomy thoughts and moods appear.
- Hormonal shifts… The birth of a child is a great burden on a woman's body, which leads to its significant restructuring. Biologically active substances, hormones, regulate the rhythm of life processes, hormonal disruptions lead to serious illnesses, including mental ones.
- Fatigue… Chronic fatigue during pregnancy is bad for mood and can be a contributing factor to postpartum psychosis.
- Unsuccessful childbirth… Severe, with great loss of blood, when miscarriage occurs or still child is born.
- Various diseases… A diseased liver, high blood pressure, and other chronic ailments can provoke a mental postpartum illness.
- Head injury… If such was during pregnancy, it is highly likely that during difficult childbirth or after them, the mental health of the woman in labor will become upset.
- Unpreparedness for childbirth… A woman is not psychologically ready to become a mother. He does not understand that childbirth is a serious restructuring of the body, a completely new period of life. She is afraid of motherhood. This depresses the psyche, leads to a nervous breakdown and mental illness.
- Unhealthy family relationships… She was discharged from the hospital, but her husband is not happy with the child, behaves rudely, does not take care of the newborn. The woman gets nervous, starts to scandal, her milk disappears. This condition can end in psychosis.
The consequences of postpartum psychosis can be dire. Such women in labor are very dangerous. Delusional thoughts make you commit suicide or kill the child. Statistics show that 5% of women in this state commit suicide, 4% kill their children.
Characteristic manifestations of postpartum psychosis
Symptoms of postpartum psychosis are manifested in inappropriate behavior and hyperemotion, when the woman in labor reacts too sensitively to the appearance of a newborn. The opinion that everything will pass by itself and the woman will quickly "get on her feet" is wrong. If you do not consult a doctor in time, such a condition can end up with mental illness for a young mother, and for a child with a serious developmental delay.
Alarming factors in the behavior of a woman after childbirth can be as follows:
- Mood swings… When causeless gaiety, vanity, anxiety that the child is poorly looked after, he is hungry, replaced by a gloomy mood and complete indifference. Often, a young mother becomes anxious and suspicious, she has ridiculous thoughts, for example, that the child has been replaced in the hospital, she refuses to feed and care for him.
- Decline of vitality… Difficult childbirth affected health. The weakened body fights its sores. It affects the mood.There is a feeling of anxiety, depression, unreasonable irritation, when a woman can yell at loved ones. All those around you seem to be enemies. Even your own child is not nice. Life is seen as gloomy and uncomfortable.
- Insomnia… The woman complains that she constantly has nightmares, often wakes up at night or does not sleep at all. As a result, nervous, confused thoughts and speech, there is an incomprehensible anger at your baby. In this state, auditory and visual hallucinations develop. A young mother is practically unable to care for the child and even poses a danger to him.
- Refusal to eat… After giving birth, the sensations of taste disappeared, the appetite disappeared, the food began to arouse disgust, in the hospital, by persuasion and almost by force, they were forced to eat a bowl of soup. This indicates that a woman does not adequately perceive reality, she has an unclear consciousness, which may mean the development of postpartum depression.
- Ambiguous attitude towards the child… It can be exaggeratedly attentive to the point of lisping, when the mother constantly bothers and kisses the newborn, or complete indifference to him. Let's say a child screams, demands attention to himself, and this only causes anger.
- Paranoid thoughts… When after childbirth there is suspicion and distrust of others. All the time it seems that even loved ones have planned something bad, so you should not trust them. The attitude towards a newborn baby can be twofold. It seems to some women in labor that not all is well with him, he is in danger. All the while trying to save him from an invisible enemy. Some are disgusted with the newborn, as it seems that they did not give birth, they just threw someone else's child, so there is no need to take care of him.
- Megalomania… After giving birth, a previously quiet, modest woman suddenly began to overestimate her own capabilities. The birth of a child seems to her such an incredible event that everyone around should bow before her. This is already a reason to take a closer look, perhaps the woman in labor should be shown to a psychiatrist.
- Suicidal thoughts… After giving birth, a woman becomes angry, starts scandals for every reason, and sometimes for no apparent reason. In fact, she has fear in her soul, fear of everything new that lies ahead with the birth of a baby. Gloomy thoughts fill the whole being, pushing to commit suicide. Often she decides to take this step with the child.
The worries that you will have to raise a child alone have an extremely negative effect on the psyche. The woman in labor becomes gloomy and irritable. On this basis, a serious mental illness arises after childbirth.
It's important to know! Any of these symptoms indicate that the young mother should be seen by a psychiatrist. Otherwise, such strange behavior ends very sadly.
Treatment for postpartum psychosis
In severe cases, postpartum psychosis is treated in a psychiatric hospital. It can take from one to two months to a year. To achieve the obtained result, a psychotherapist conducts reinforcing therapy. Already at home, the patient needs careful care. Only in this case it is possible to speak with confidence about a stable positive result. Consider all methods of therapy.
Treatment of postpartum psychosis with medications
If after childbirth the psyche of the woman in labor is clearly disturbed, for example, she starts talking, she has nervous breakdowns, does not recognize the child, she is sent to a psychiatric hospital. In this case, the consent of the relatives is required. In the hospital, a complex of medication methods of treatment is combined with physiotherapy procedures.
For the relief of mental disorders (delusions and hallucinations), antipsychotics of the latest generation are used. Prescribed by the attending physician in tablets or administered intravenously. These are potent drugs with a sedative and hypnotic effect, improving memory and brain activity.These include Aminazin, Klopisol, Triftazin, and many others.
Antidepressants can help relieve depression. The extensive group of such drugs includes Amitriptyllin, Fluoxetine, Pyrazidol, Melipramine, and other antidepressant drugs.
To improve mood, mood stabilizers can be prescribed - normotimics, for example, lithium salts (Contemnol) or valproic acid (Depakin). All of these drugs must be taken for a long time. It is recommended to take it at home as a supportive treatment.
Along with drug treatment, patients are shown physiotherapy. These are massage, various water, electromagnetic procedures. In exceptional cases, electroshock is prescribed.
It's important to know! Long-term use of medication can cause unwanted side effects, such as tachycardia, heaviness in the stomach, dry mouth. But so far, medicine has not been able to offer anything better.
Psychotherapy for postpartum psychosis
Psychotherapy of postpartum psychosis is aimed at consolidating the results of drug treatment. This will help the woman to control her behavior in order to avoid recurrence of the disease.
At psychotherapeutic sessions, the psychotherapist helps the patient to realize what happened to her, and suggests how best to get out of this state, what should be done to prevent this from happening in the future.
Truly maternal care for a child - such a psychological attitude helps a woman to tune in to a "healthy wave": not to reject her child and steadfastly endure all the hardships of family life, not forgetting, of course, about her health.
It's important to know! According to statistics, up to 75% of women in labor successfully cope with their mental disorders after childbirth. This is the great merit of psychotherapeutic procedures.
Support for loved ones
When the survivor of generic psychosis was discharged from the hospital, it is necessary that her family closely monitor her well-being and behavior. A woman needs a sparing regimen, if possible, she should be freed from family worries, she must take care of the child under supervision. If the psychosis is severe, breastfeeding is not recommended. Baby food on milk formula is a way out in this position.
In no case should a young mother be left alone with a newborn! If the disease recurs, it can harm him. Let's say, accidentally or by design, drop it, leave it open in a draft. The husband will have to deal with the kid more, it's good if someone close to him can help him.
A calm atmosphere should reign in the family so as not to provoke a woman to an emotional outburst. Quarrels cause nervous excitement, and this is a direct path to the return of psychosis.
Medication should be monitored. If she says that she is already well and does not want to take pills, this is her subjective opinion. Only the attending physician can cancel the drugs. This means that for a long time a woman will be registered in a psychiatric dispensary. Family members should be understanding about this.
It's important to know! The support of her husband and loved ones is a guarantee that the young mother will forget about her postpartum stress and quickly return to normal life. How to treat postpartum psychosis - watch the video:
Postpartum psychosis is a rather rare disease, but if this has happened, serious treatment and prevention is required for many years to come. Caring for the child at this time falls on the husband, when for some reason it is impossible - on one of the relatives. It is highly likely that the disease will pass without serious consequences, the woman will return to a healthy life, and the child will not be affected by the serious illness of the mother after childbirth.