Mental health articles

OF mental health care and mentally ill

The mother who becomes disturbed after childbirth

Childbirth is, for the majority of women, a positive experience.
The arrival of a newborn baby is greeted with pleasure and joy.
However, some mothers become mentally disturbed. There are
three main kinds of postnatal mental problems.
• The ‘blues’. This is a common emotional state which occurs
within the first week after the baby is born. Typically, the
mother feels tearful and sad. This is a harmless condition that
lasts a few days.
• Depression. This is similar to depression in any other situation.
It becomes obvious about a month after the baby is born. The
mother may feel tired, have sleep problems and feel tearful.
She may lose interest in herself and her baby. This illness can
last up to 12 months if not treated.
• Psychosis. This is the most severe postnatal mental illness. It is
similar to a confusional state. Thankfully, it is also the rarest.
Symptoms become obvious within two weeks of the birth.
They worsen very quickly, so that the mother may lose touch
with reality, have bizarre ideas and may hallucinate. Without
treatment, she may remain ill for several months.

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