Skip to main content

Lindsay Clancy, 32, was taken to the hospital last week after she attempted to take her own life by jumping out of a window, shortly after she had taken the lives of all three of her children. With this tragedy fresh on our minds, the conversation surrounding post-partum psychosis has come into the limelight and it is time we started a conversation about this terrible affliction.

Many women experience the ‘baby blues’ after they have given birth. The woman who endures postpartum depression tends to feel extremely depressed, overwhelmed, hopeless, and anxious, and a whopping 50% of mothers go through this. However, in rarer cases, some women experience what is known as postpartum psychosis.

A portion of the women who experience post partem psychosis has already been previously diagnosed with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or other mental illnesses that can sometimes result in psychosis. The condition is reversible, but it’s important to see it before it goes too far, because it can sometimes be dangerous, as we now know due to Clancy.

Symptoms of post partum psychosis include:

1. Hallucinations.

2. Delusions.

3. Major mood shifts.

4. Mixed or nonsensical language.

5. Thoughts of harming others or self-harm.

6. Sudden paranoia.

7. Irritability and agitation.

8. Disorganized speech or behavior.

There are three types of PPP depressive, manic, or atypical/mixed. Those who are depressive nay suddenly withdraw and say things that are uncharacteristic or self-deprecating. Those who are manic may appear ‘crazed’, and hyper, as though they cannot sit still and may not sleep.

Hallucinations can include auditory, tactical (touch), and visual, which means they can be seen, heard, or felt.

There are a number of likely causes for PPP, but experts believe it boils down to these main causes.

1. Numerous pregnancies.
2. History of mental health conditions.
3. Hormonal shifts.
4. Other medical conditions.
5. Sleep deprivation.

If you notice that someone you love that has recently had a baby is acting off, do not take it lightly. While you don’t want to immediately assume they need psychiatric help, it’s important to be supportive and attentive and know when they are showing signs that could mean they are experiencing PPP. Things like delusions, paranoid thoughts, thoughts of self-harm, and hallucinations are all emergency signs and red flags that should be acknowledged IMMEDIATELY.

PPP is reversible, but in order to be treated, it has to be recognized. So, please, check on recent mothers. Checking on them could make all the difference in the world.