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Postpartum Psychosis Help

In an Emergency

Emergency Hotlines are available all the time. It is very important that you reach out right now and find the support and information you need to be safe. Call the emergency hotline 1-800-273-8255.  Call for yourself or someone you care about; available 24/7.

Postpartum Psychosis

Postpartum Psychosis is a rare illness compared to the rates of postpartum depression or anxiety. It occurs in approximately 1 to 2 out of every 1,000 deliveries, or approximately .1% of births. The onset is usually sudden, most often within the first 2 weeks postpartum.

Symptoms

Symptoms of postpartum psychosis can include:

  • Delusions or strange beliefs
  • Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)
  • Feeling very irritated
  • Hyperactivity
  • Decreased need for or inability to sleep
  • Paranoia and suspiciousness
  • Rapid mood swings
  • Difficulty communicating at times

The most significant risk factors for postpartum psychosis are a personal or family history of bipolar disorder, or a previous psychotic episode.

Of the women who develop a postpartum psychosis, research has suggested that there is approximately a 5% suicide rate and a 4% infanticide rate associated with the illness. This is because the woman experiencing psychosis is experiencing a break from reality. In her psychotic state, the delusions and beliefs make sense to her; they feel very real to her and are often religious. Immediate treatment for a woman going through psychosis is imperative.

It is also important to know that many survivors of postpartum psychosis never had delusions containing violent commands. Delusions take many forms, and not all of them are destructive. Most women who experience postpartum psychosis do not harm themselves or anyone else. However, there is always the risk of danger because psychosis includes delusional thinking and irrational judgment, and this is why women with this illness must be quickly assessed, treated, and carefully monitored by a trained healthcare perinatal mental health professional.

Postpartum psychosis is temporary and treatable with professional help, but it is an emergency and it is essential that you receive immediate help. If you feel you or someone you know may be suffering from this illness, know that it is not your fault and you are not to blame. Call your doctor or an emergency crisis hotline right away so that you can get the help you need.

PSI also has a Postpartum Psychosis Coordinator to provide additional assistance to women and families who are not in an emergency situation. Contact Michele Davidson, at 703-729-4462, at michelerdavidson@gmail.com

Websites and PSI (Postpartum Support International) Contacts

PSI Contacts:
Michele Davidson, PhD, CNM, CFN, RN
PSI Postpartum Psychosis Coordinator
michelerdavidson@gmail.com

703-729-4462

Teresa Twomey
tmtwomey2@gmail.com, 203-439-2001.
Teresa is working on fictionalized-monologues for a performance piece and is looking to hear people’s stories of PPP.

Legal Resources Volunteer. Teresa Twomey has been the PSI legal resources volunteer for many years. We are currently looking to fill this position, which involves primarily keeping a database of legal resources.

Sharon Gerdes, Sharon@SharonGerdes.com 719-358-9499 (office)
PSI Vice-President and PR/Media Chair

Jennifer Moyer, jennifer@jennifermoyer.com, (850) 936-7164.
PPP survivor, author and mental health activist

Websites:

Postpartum Support International www.postpartum.net
Resources include information about the various perinatal mood disorders, a warmline, and access to mental health providers and support groups.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
By calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.

Action Postpartum Psychosis http://www.app-network.org/
A British network, with resources to share, comprised of women who have experienced an episode of psychosis or bipolar disorder only in relation to childbirth, and also women who have bipolar disorder who suffer an episode of illness after childbirth. This site includes many helpful resources.