POSTPARTUM PSYCHOSIS is an extremely serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. Approximately 1 or 2 out of 500 moms will experience postpartum psychosis. Hyperbolic media depictions have greatly contributed to inaccurate assumptions about the disorder. While you may have been led 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.
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.
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