Postpartum Psychosis

Postpartum Psychosis

Postpartum Psychosis

About the condition
Postpartum psychosis is a psychotic disorder that affects women who have recently given birth and is linked to insomnia. The mother's sadness, delusions, and thoughts of harming her child or herself are frequent characteristics of this syndrome. Suicidal and infantile thoughts must be closely observed. Postpartum psychosis and mood disorders, particularly bipolar and major depressive disorder, are intimately connected.

Bipolar disorder is a Western psychological diagnosis, characterized by mood swings between exhilaration or mania and despair. It has a wide range of signs and symptoms that can vary dramatically based on the person's constitution, surroundings, and imbalances. Low Ojas (immunity, strength, contentment, ability to deal) and vitiated Vata (biological principle of movement and dryness) in the mind and nervous system are the main contributors to the amplification of bipolar disease in susceptible individuals.

In the modern day, psychosis is caused by a number of etiologies, including genetics, infections, chemical poisoning (Scopolamine, Meperidine), toxicity, blood loss, and hormonal (sudden reduction in estrogen, progesterone concentration).

According to Ayurveda, women who have had a history of mental illness, as well as pregnancy-related physical or psychological problems, are frequently at risk for Sutika Unmada. It is regarded as a prevalent psychological condition affecting pregnant women. 

  • Vataja symptoms include excessive talkativeness, racing thoughts, hypersexuality, euphoria, and impulsive overspending. These are unique characteristics depending on doshas (of money, time, and energy).
  • Pittaja signs include excessive self-assurance, irritation, wrath, or hostility directed outwardly against other people, insufficient sleep, and hyperactivity.
  • Kaphaja symptoms include feelings of melancholy, lassitude, loss of vigor, apathy, lack of appetite, lack of sexual interest, excessive sleepiness, and hypoactivity.

Clinical Signs

  • Symptoms start to show up a few days after delivery.
  • Approximately 8 weeks after delivery, the usual period of onset is 2-3 weeks.
  • Patients typically express weariness, sleeplessness, restlessness, occasional tears, and emotional instability.
  • Later, there is suspicion, fuzziness, incoherence, strange speech, and an obsession with the baby's health and welfare. 50% of patients experience delusions, and 25% of patients experience hallucinations.
  • Complaints about being unable to sit, stand, or walk.
  • Patients could feel like they don't want to take care of the baby and, in some situations like they want to hurt themselves, the baby, or both.
  • Delusions may include the notion that the infant is deformed or deceased.
  • Patients may deny their birth and claim to be unmarried, virgins, victims of persecution, under the influence, or wicked.

Treatment:

In Satvvajaya Chikitsa(Ayurvedic healing therapy), the patient should be approached with Dhee (uplifting intellect), and Dhairya, especially in puerperal psychosis. (Inspiring self-assurance and tenacity) Dhee Chikitsa refers to elevating or comprehending one's intellectual mind or thinking. Its function is to improve the ability to judge and distinguish between bad ideas. Consequently, her internal ideas are becoming developed in a perceptive way. Through Dhee Chikitsa, self-confidence and self-esteem are fostered.  As a result, her mental processes, thinking content, and perception are changing. It is Dhairya Chikitsa responsible for sustaining mental stability and restoring the disordered mind. Expressing love and support without conditions toward the situation.

According to current scientific understanding, postnatal psychosis is categorized as a mental emergency based on suicidal, homicidal, or infanticide tendencies. Psychoeducation & Sattvajya Chikitsa" can be used to provide psychological assistance for both postnatal psychiatric situations and her associative groupings. Increasing Ojas and lowering stress are the two main Ayurveda strategies for treating bipolar disorder. Less mood swings between highs and lows is more common in patients who are better able to handle and resist life's stresses. Patients are less likely to be affected by the Doshas when Ojas is strong. As a result, specific directions on how to proceed with psychiatric treatment are given in case of postpartum psychosis.

  1. Abhyanga- Abdominal, pelvic, and other muscles are toned by abhyanga, back muscles, tissues, and muscle relief spasm. It also helps in recovery from soft tissue injury through increased circulation. Improves digestion, boosts red blood cells & avoids anemia. Abhyanga at the lower back aids in appropriate posture. It can also help with sleep issues and anxiety and normalize  Vata imbalance.
  2. Ratree Shiroabhyanga used with Dhanvataram Taila, it boosted the Guna of Swapna Janana (sleep enhancement).
  3. Rasayana Chikitsa restores one's physical and mental health. Antarparimarjana drugs(internal cleansing) increase mental calm by enhancing memory, discriminative ability, focus, and sleep quality, which are attributes of the Medhya Rasayana.
  4. Dietary supplements such as Dashamoola Kashaya and mild laxatives were useful in treating constipation without exacerbating Vata Dosha, as well as Lunuwila (Bacopa) to improve memory. 
  5. Kwatha Dhara Snana was effective at calming a patient's body and mind, it was utilized to treat the patient's unsanitary condition.
Ayurveda is useful for managing bipolar disorder because it takes a holistic approach that considers a person's constitution, the severity of any existing imbalances, and their entire environment before determining the best course of treatment to restore balance.

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