A review of postpartum psychosis.

University of Pittsburgh, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.
Journal of Women's Health (Impact Factor: 1.9). 06/2006; 15(4):352-68. DOI: 10.1089/jwh.2006.15.352
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The objective is to provide an overview of the clinical features, prognosis, differential diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of postpartum psychosis.
The authors searched Medline (1966-2005), PsycInfo (1974-2005), Toxnet, and PubMed databases using the key words postpartum psychosis, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, organic psychosis, pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy, and electroconvulsive therapy. A clinical case is used to facilitate the discussion.
The onset of puerperal psychosis occurs in the first 1-4 weeks after childbirth. The data suggest that postpartum psychosis is an overt presentation of bipolar disorder that is timed to coincide with tremendous hormonal shifts after delivery. The patient develops frank psychosis, cognitive impairment, and grossly disorganized behavior that represent a complete change from previous functioning. These perturbations, in combination with lapsed insight into her illness and symptoms, can lead to devastating consequences in which the safety and well-being of the affected mother and her offspring are jeopardized. Therefore, careful and repeated assessment of the mothers' symptoms, safety, and functional capacity is imperative. Treatment is dictated by the underlying diagnosis, bipolar disorder, and guided by the symptom acuity, patient's response to past treatments, drug tolerability, and breastfeeding preference. The somatic therapies include antimanic agents, atypical antipsychotic medications, and ECT. Estrogen prophylaxis remains purely investigational.
The rapid and accurate diagnosis of postpartum psychosis is essential to expedite appropriate treatment and to allow for quick, full recovery, prevention of future episodes, and reduction of risk to the mother and her children and family.

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    ABSTRACT: Background Postpartum depression (PPD) is a common illness, but due to the underlying processes and the diversity of symptoms, some variability is exhibited. The risk of postpartum depression is great if the mother has previously suffered from depression, but there is some evidence that a certain subgroup of women only experience depression during the postpartum period.Methods The study group consisted of 104 mothers with postpartum major depression and a control group of 104 postpartum mothers without depression. The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders (SCID-I) was used for data collection. The severity of depression and other mental symptoms were assessed using several validated rating scales.ResultsA history of past depression (82%), including depression during pregnancy (42%) and during the postpartum period (53%), was very common in those with current PPD. Eighteen per cent of mothers with current PPD had previously not had any depressive episodes and four per cent had experienced depression only during the postpartum period. Therefore, pure PPD was rare. The onset of PPD was usually (84%) within six weeks of childbirth. Obsessive-compulsive symptoms, phobic anxiety, paranoid ideation, depressed mood, diminished pleasure/interest, decreased energy, and psychomotor agitation/retardation were common with all kinds of depression histories. Pure PPD was the most similar to the first depressive episode. Nevertheless, the severity of depression, the level of hopelessness, somatisation, interpersonal sensitivity, anxiety, hostility, psychoticism, sleep disturbance, and suicidal ideation were lower, appetite changed less, and concentration was better than in other recurrent depressions.Conclusions According to this study, PPD is not a homogenous disorder. The time of onset, severity, symptoms, level of hopelessness, and the course of depression vary. Recurrent depression is common. All mothers must be screened during the sixth week postpartum at the latest. Screening alone is not effective; it is also important to give mothers information about PPD and to discuss the symptoms with them in order for them to recognise this disorder and possible new episodes in the future.
    BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 12/2014; 14(1):402. DOI:10.1186/PREACCEPT-1301881224127235 · 2.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Postpartum psychosis is a severe disorder that warrants acute clinical intervention. Little is known, however, about what interventions are most effective. The authors present treatment response and remission outcomes at 9 months postpartum using a four-step algorithm in patients with first-onset psychosis or mania in the postpartum period. Treatment involved the structured sequential administration of benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, lithium, and ECT. The outcome of clinical remission was examined in 64 women consecutively admitted for postpartum psychosis. Remission was defined as the absence of psychotic, manic, and severe depressive symptoms for at least 1 week. Women who remitted on antipsychotic monotherapy were advised to continue this treatment as maintenance therapy, and women who required both antipsychotics and lithium to achieve remission were maintained on lithium monotherapy. Relapse was defined as the occurrence of any mood or psychotic episode fulfilling DSM-IV-TR criteria. Using this treatment algorithm, the authors observed that nearly all patients (98.4%) achieved complete remission within the first three steps. None of the patients required ECT. At 9 months postpartum, sustained remission was observed in 79.7%. Patients treated with lithium had a significantly lower rate of relapse compared with those treated with antipsychotic monotherapy. Multiparity and nonaffective psychosis were identified as risk factors for relapse. The authors conclude that a structured treatment algorithm with the sequential addition of benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, and lithium may result in high rates of remission in patients with first-onset postpartum psychosis and that lithium maintenance may be most beneficial for relapse prevention.
    American Journal of Psychiatry 02/2015; 172(2):115-123. DOI:10.1176/appi.ajp.2014.13121652 · 13.56 Impact Factor
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    Literature and Medicine 01/2014; 32(2):348-364. DOI:10.1353/lm.2014.0017

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