Dr. Dresner explains the confusion between Postpartum Depression (PPD) and Postpartum Psychosis.
The confusion between postpartum psychosis and postpartum depression has had sort of a mixed effect on, I think, on the media and on new mothers. New mothers worry that if they feel depressed postpartum, if they feel tearful, agitated, overwhelmed, which is perfectly normal in the first, you know, week or so, postpartum, that they are going to become the mother who drowns their baby in the bath tub or who jumps off L-tracks and commits suicide, that the two things are on a continuum and they may be reticent or reluctant to present themselves for mental health treatment or even to tell their doctor how they’re feeling because they are concerned that their symptoms are going to evolve into this horrible, tragic end, or that their doctors will over-react and assume that because they're having these mild symptoms, they are going to turn into one of these news stories.
So it’s had a mixed effect. I think it has increased awareness in the general population about postpartum depression, but women with postpartum depression do not typically become psychotic. One in seven to eight women develop postpartum depression; it’s extremely common. One in a thousand or less women experience postpartum psychosis, extremely aware.
About Dr. Nehama Dresner, M.D.:
Dr. Nehama Dresner, M.D., is a licensed, Board-certified psychiatrist (in general psychiatry and psychosomatic medicine) with specialized training and nearly 20 years experience in Women's Mental Health and Medical Psychiatry. She is Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Obstetrics/Gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and is actively involved in medical education. A fellow in the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine and the America Psychiatric Association, she speaks locally and nationally on issues related to psychological aspects of women's health and medical psychiatry. Dr. Dresner's clinical specialty is psychosomatic obstetrics, and gynecology, women's emotional development, and psychiatric treatment of the medically ill.