Dr. Dresner describes postpartum psychosis.
Postpartum psychosis is a very rare syndrome that occurs in about one in 1000 new mothers, and it’s not a syndrome unto itself. It’s a description of a collection of symptoms. So postpartum psychosis occurs in the context of another illness, either depression or mania or schizophrenia, so there’s some background diagnosis there that’s the cause of the psychotic symptoms.
Psychotic symptoms begin in new mothers most commonly in somebody who has no prior psychiatric history in the context of a manic episode. So a woman may become psychotic postpartum for the first time, never having had a psychiatric history before, and the most common diagnosis is going to be a manic episode which will likely quickly be followed by a depressive episode.
It may occur once in her lifetime, may occur at another postpartum episode, may become the beginning of a cycling disorder that she experiences for the rest of her life, or may never happen again.
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.