Postpartum Psychiatric Disorders
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The literature on postpartum psychiatric disorders (PPD) is reviewed with particular reference to recent advances in the field. Despite the prevailing tendency to consider PPD as a manifestation of other pre-existing psychiatric disorders (i.e. affective, schizophreniform, organic, neurotic, etc.) a growing number of studies point to the uniqueness and specificity of postpartum symptomatology. Theories of etiology, psychosocial as well as biological, are still wide-ranging and unconvicing. Attempts to predict PPD and/or to identify mothers-to-be at risk are based largely on retrospective studies or else are hindered by the use of nonspecific instruments. Society's implicit belief in the "joys of motherhood" may have further contributed to the obscurity surrounding these frequently occurring disorders. Interventions follow conventional methods of psycho- and pharmacotherapy but the multidisciplinary treatment approach especially for women with acute PPD who require hospital admission is gaining wider acceptance. The inpatient psychiatric mother-baby intensive care unit model is part of this approach.
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