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Postpartum Psychosis - PP

Postpartum psychosis is a psychiatric emergency and the symptoms of PP can get worse very quickly, so it should be treated as a medical emergency and most likely require hospital treatment.

If you are worried that your partner, friend or family member is suffering with PP then contact your GP, Perinatal Mental Health team or Crisis team Immediately

Symptoms

Women with PP might experience some of the below:

There is still very little understanding why PP occurs, but it appears to be many factors that lead to an episode. Research considers genetics and the history of the women and family along with changes in hormones and disruption to sleep pattern, could make women more vulnerable to PP episodes.

Early warning signs

It is a good idea to talk to those close to you about 'early warning signs' and then if you do experience an episode they can watch out for these signs and get support if needed.

Treatment and recovery

Most treatments happen in a Mother and baby psychiatric unit, where you and your baby can stay together until you are better. Remember that with early care you are likely to recover much more quickly. In most circumstances you will still be supported to breastfeed your baby if this is your choice, you can discuss this with the doctors and nurses caring for you.

CBT for psychosis is more complex that regular CBT due to the fact it takes into account the unusual beliefs and experiences people with schizophrenia might have.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

This talking therapy aims to identify connections between thoughts, feelings and behaviour with the aim to help develop practical skills to help manage negative thought patterns or thinking and behaviour that might be causing you problems.

Talking therapy

This is an important part of your treatment as it provides a regular time for you to talk about your thoughts and troubles, enabling you to explore difficult feelings with a trained therapist.

Family therapy

This is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on family relationships and encourages everyone within the family or relationship to work together to improve mental health.

Admission to a Mother and baby unit

A Mother and Baby unit is a specialist mental health unit that treats women who are severely mentally unwell, who are admitted with their baby. Women are admitted to this unit if it is of no longer safe to be treated at home.

For more information on our local Mother and baby unit in Winchester:

Approximately 1 in every 2 women with a history of PP will experience it again, however it may not present in the same way

Further reading and some helpful resources: