September 28, 2011
Treatment of Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders
Postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorders are anxiety disorders. Mothers experience fear or apprehension of putting their infant in the harm’s way; and that drives them to a point of doing repetitive behaviors to avoid threat of ‘harm’.
Common postpartum OCD behaviors include repeatedly washing the infant or washing bottles for hours to prevent germs. And sometimes, such behaviors cause more harm than good. It puts a lot of stress to mothers, causing them to resort to ritualistic and repetitive behaviors in an effort to control anxiety.
“It’s very normal part of parenting to try to protect and keep your children safe,” said Kiara Timpano, a member of the researching team. “What happens with OCD is that natural vigilance is turned up too way high.”
Mothers who have anxiety disorders (like OCD) are more vulnerable, written by researchers. They point out that having a baby is an enormous life transition accompanied by huge hormonal and other physiological changes, which may further contribute to the condition.
In an effort to see if postpartum OCD is preventable, Dr. Timpano and her colleagues enlisted 71 pregnant mothers who have considerable anxiety prior to giving birth. None of them had present or previous history of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Half of them are enrolled in a regular childbirth education class while the rest are taught to recognize signs of OCD and techniques to deal with it. All were followed-up for one, two and three months after birth.
After analyzing study results, it showed that mothers who were lectured on OCD had less anxiety and developed better coping skills in dealing with anxious thoughts than those who were in the regular class.
Researchers point out that postpartum OCD can be mistaken for postpartum psychosis, a more severe delusional disorder that makes them at risk on hurting their babies. Moms with OCD are at little risk of hurting their babies. But the two conditions can happen concurrently, said Dr. Timpano. In the end, researchers recommended that along with depression and psychosis, there is also a need to determine presence of obsessive-compulsive disorder in expecting mothers.
Here is the link to the original article: