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.
In an Emergency
Call the emergency hotline 1-800-273-8255. 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 for yourself or someone you care about; available 24/7.
Symptoms of postpartum psychosis can include:
- Delusions or strange beliefs
- Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)
- Feeling very irritated
- 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.
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.
Postpartum Psychosis Support Services
Specialized Support Coordinators
PSI also has several Postpartum Psychosis Coordinators to provide additional assistance to women and families who are not in an emergency situation.
Online Support Group
Postpartum Psychosis (PPP) Support for Moms
Support for families touched by Postpartum Psychosis (PPP) group
- Action on Postpartum Psychosis -Insider Guide Recovery
- Action on Postpartum Psychosis – Insider Guide for Partners
- Action on Postpartum Psychosis – Planning Pregnancy Guide for Women at High Risk of PP
- Postpartum Psychosis Resources: Books, Journalism and Creative Media
- PSI Bookstore for books, including those on postpartum psychosis for providers, advocates, and families
- Recognizing Postpartum Psychosis, The Postpartum Psychosis Project at Massachusetts General Hospital
- Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.