Mothers With Bipolar Disorder At Increased Risk Of Postpartum Psychosis

Posted: Sep 10 2016, 2:14pm CDT | by , in Latest Science News


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Mothers with Bipolar Disorder at Increased Risk of Postpartum Psychosis
Catherine Zeta-Jones was a patient of bipolar disorder. / Getty Images
  • Disorder often missed, physicians reluctant to prescribe most effective medication for mothers

Researchers indicate that the pregnant women suffering from bipolar disorder are at a higher risk of developing postpartum psychosis.

It is a blessing to become a mother but there are also so many complications involved with the process. Even in the modern world of medicine, there are still conditions that are associated with pregnancy that beg for a treatment or control.

One of those conditions is postpartum depression and worse, postpartum psychosis. A condition in which a new mother develops adverse feelings towards her newborn baby which may also lead to violent actions on her part against the infant.

In a Northwestern Medicine review of literature on the rare and under-researched disorder from Northwestern Medicine, Stanford University and Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands, it was proven that postpartum psychosis stemmed mostly from bipolar disorder.

The subject and the disorder are understudied but it was a basically safe and fair assumption to make that mothers facing bipolar disorder were most likely to develop postpartum psychosis. Postpartum psychosis increases the risk for a mother harming or killing her baby or herself.

Summarizing the problem, a general study indicated that most physicians were reluctant to prescribe lithium for breastfeeding women for fear that the drug will negatively impact the baby. There have been however no regular follow-up studies to indicate that the lithium has adverse effects for the mother or the baby.

Senior author Dr. Katherine Wisner, the Norman and Helen Asher Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine psychiatrist said that the risk from medication is far less than the development of disorder.

The disorder goes untreated because people normally abstain from medicating women during pregnancy and breastfeeding. According to the review, creating awareness of the treatable disorder and diagnosing it can prevent tragedy. Wisner suggested that the mother at risk of developing the disorder should be treated with lithium as soon as she has given birth.

The American Journal of Psychiatry requested this review to develop an updated and overarching view of the disorder.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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