A surge of clinical and research interest in postpartum mood disturbances has recently lead to a greater understanding of their phenomenology, etiologies, relationships to one another and to psychiatric disorders. Summarizing these recent advances in theory, research, and treatment, Postpartum Mood Disorders hypothesizes that the traditional categories of postpartum mood disorders -- postpartum "blues," postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis -- are not necessarily on a continuum. Though interrelated in some cases, these categories represent distinct postpartum states, with different phenomenologies, etiologies, predictive factors, and treatments.
Focusing on the biological aspects of puerperal mood disturbance, the book's first section explores how the ubiquitous, mild postpartum mood changes known as "baby blues" can be caused by the effects of sudden hormonal withdrawal. It further reviews data about how postpartum depression relates to mood changes occurring at other parts of the reproductive cycle, such as menopause; examines the pattern of mood changes across the reproductive cycle in relation to hormonal changes; and describes cultural differences in understanding, conceptualizing and reacting to postpartum mood changes.
Reviewing the clinical features and differential diagnosis of postpartum psychosis, this timely monograph investigates data about whether psychoses of postpartum onset differs from other psychoses in terms of phenomenology, family history and prognosis, and addresses the acute and long-term impact of major postpartum psychiatric disorders on children -- a central question for families and clinicians.
The book's second section covers treatment strategies for postpartum disorders, examining psychotherapeutic modalities as well as pharmacologic and psychosocial interventions, including the role of self-help groups and volunteer networks, and their relationship to professional care systems.
Authored by pioneering clinicians, researchers, and self-help volunteers who have worked with new mothers and their families in dealing with postpartum mood disturbances, Postpartum Mood Disorders provides a much-needed, thorough coverage of a highly prevalent, but often misunderstood, subject.