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  1. ITV Report

'You need doctors - proper intervention': Mums warn of the condition postpartum psychosis

A Music for Mums concert is being held tonight to highlight the mental health condition postpartum psychosis.

The concert will raise money to help mothers who are affected by the condition.

The psychosis is rare but women who get it after they have given birth can experience serious depression, hallucinations or delusions which are very frightening.

Everyone has a bit of a tough time when you have kids but something like postnatal psychosis is so severe that you need proper medical help.

It's not just about supporting - you need doctors - it needs proper intervention.

– NAOMI HAMMERTON, concert organiser

Symptoms of postpartum psychosis

Symptoms start suddenly within the first two weeks after giving birth:

  • hallucinations
  • delusions – thoughts or beliefs that are unlikely to be true
  • a manic mood – talking and thinking too much or too quickly, feeling "high" or "on top of the world"
  • a low mood – showing signs of depression, being withdrawn or tearful, lacking energy, having a loss of appetite, anxiety or trouble sleeping
  • loss of inhibitions
  • feeling suspicious or fearful
  • restlessness
  • feeling very confused
  • behaving in a way that's out of character

When to get medical help

Postpartum psychosis is a serious mental illness that should be treated as a medical emergency. If not treated immediately, you can get rapidly worse and could neglect or harm your baby or yourself.

See a GP immediately if you think you, or someone you know, may have developed symptoms of postpartum psychosis.

Medication

  • antidepressants – to help ease systems of depression
  • antipsychotics – to help with manic and psychotic symptoms, such as delusions or hallucinations
  • mood stabilisers (for example, lithium) – to stabilise your mood and prevent symptoms recurring

Causes

  • have a family history of mental health illness, particularly postpartum psychosis (even if you have no history of mental illness)
  • already have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia
  • you have a traumatic birth or pregnancy
  • you developed postpartum psychosis after a previous pregnancy

For more information visit the NHS website.