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Treatment of postpartum psychosis

Stephen Marder, MD
Section Editor
Murray B Stein, MD, MPH
Deputy Editor
Richard Hermann, MD


Women are more likely to experience psychosis during the period following childbirth than at any other time in their lives. Postpartum psychosis appears to be a heterogeneous group of mood and psychotic disorders. These disorders have in common the emergence of psychotic symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations in the first weeks postpartum.

The onset of psychosis during the postpartum period constitutes a medical emergency. Women with postpartum psychosis appear more likely to commit suicide or homicide than the general population. Acute management emphasizes hospitalization to ensure safety, antipsychotic medication, and treatment of the underlying disorder.

The treatment of postpartum psychosis is reviewed here. The diagnosis and treatment of individual mood and psychotic disorders are discussed separately.

(See "Postpartum psychosis: Epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, course, assessment, and diagnosis".)

(See "Clinical manifestations, differential diagnosis, and initial management of psychosis in adults".)


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Literature review current through: Jul 2017. | This topic last updated: Nov 17, 2016.
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