06 July 2011

PostPartum OCD

I recently read about a condition I had never heard of before called Post-Partum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

"Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is the most misunderstood and misdiagnosed of the perinatal disorders. It is estimated that as many as 3-5% of new mothers will experience these symptoms. Symptoms of perinatal OCD can include:
  • Obsessions, also called intrusive thoughts, which are persistent, repetitive thoughts or mental images related to the baby. These thoughts are very upsetting and not something the woman has ever experienced before.
  • Compulsions, where the mom may do certain things over and over again to reduce her fears and obsessions. This may include things like needing to clean constantly, check things many times, count or reorder things.
  • A sense of horror about the obsessions
  • Fear of being left alone with the infant
  • Hypervigilance in protecting the infant  
Moms with postpartum OCD know that their thoughts are bizarre and are very unlikely to ever act on them.
Risk factors for postpartum OCD include a personal or family history of anxiety or OCD.
Postpartum OCD is temporary and treatable with professional help. If you feel you may be suffering from one of this illness, know that it is not your fault and you are not to blame. You can use our resource page to reach out now. We understand what you are going through and will connect you to people who understand and can help. http://www.postpartum.net/Get-the-Facts/Postpartum-OCD.aspx"

From http://ppdcenter.com/What_Is_PPD_.html:
"Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
The PPD symptoms may also be mixed with anxiety symptoms that take on an obsessive (thoughts) and/or compulsive (behaviors) feature OR these may be experienced without depressive symptoms.
According to Postpartum Support International, "This disorder is one of the most under-recognized and under-treated types of perinatal mood disorders. It occurs in approximately 3 to 5 % of new mothers, yet it can be most alarming for a new mother. The symptoms include intrusive and persistent thoughts or mental images and a sense of horror about the thoughts/images. The thoughts are typically accompanied by behaviors to reduce the overwhelming anxiety that accompanies the thoughts."
These compulsive, ritualistic behaviors often include checking baby frequently, obsessively searching for information on the internet/books, etc. For example, a mother may have an irrational fear that she is going to drop the baby down the stairs. Consequently, she may avoid using the stairs or even going near a staircase. These mothers are NOT in danger of harming their infants and are disturbed by these troubling thoughts."

Again, if you or a loved one are experiencing the afore-mentioned symptoms, call your physician because help is easily available. "

The bolded is actually one of the biggest things I worried about when I was experiencing PPD before I got treatment. I wish that this was something that was more widely known about. Do your part to help spread the word and educate people about the various PostPartum disorders and to combat the stigmas that so often come along with them.

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