A comparative study of psychopathology, symptom severity, and short-term outcome of postpartum and nonpostpartum mania
Prabha S. Chandra, MD FRCPsych
Department of Psychiatry
Most studies acknowledge that postpartum psychosis is a variant of bipolar disorder with certain unique clinical features. There have been several descriptions of similarities and differences between postpartum psychosis and postpartum mania to support this conclusion. However, not many studies have compared postpartum-onset and nonpostpartum-onset mania. This study compared short-term outcome, clinical features, and severity of symptoms between these two groups.
Two groups of women (n = 30 each) matching the study criteria were recruited from psychiatric inpatient units in India during the period from April 2007 to August 2008. They had been systematically assessed for psychiatric symptoms and symptom severity using the Comprehensive Psychopathology Rating Scale (CPRS), Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS), Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS), and Global Assessment of Functioning Scale (GAF). To evaluate short-term outcome, all assessments were conducted within a week of admission and were repeated at six weeks.
Women with postpartum-onset mania had higher scores on the HDRS, indicating more depressive symptoms. The score on the anxiety factor of the HDRS was also higher in the postpartum group. Based on CPRS ratings, perplexity, muscle tension, worrying, inner tension, lability of mood, lassitude, and disorientation were more common in the postpartum group, while typical manic symptoms were more common in the nonpostpartum group. Duration of hospital stay and short-term outcome were, however, similar in the two groups.
Symptoms of depression and anxiety are more common and more severe in mania of postpartum onset and typical manic symptoms are fewer. However, six-week outcomes appear similar to those of nonpostpartum mania.