Diagnosis and treatment of postpartum obsessions and compulsions that involve infant harm

Robert Hudak, Katherine L. Wisner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Obsessive-compulsive symptoms in the postpartum period often include intrusive thoughts of harming the infant and rituals that result in avoidance of the baby. The differential diagnosis of women who develop these symptoms includes postpartum major mood disorders, obsessivecompulsive disorder, and psychosis with infanticidal thoughts. The treatment of the most common diagnoses, mood disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder, includes serotonergic drugs, psychoeducation to help the patient understand that she is highly unlikely to harm her infant, and exposure with response prevention therapy. This intervention involves exposure of the patient to the feared situations, which are usually related to infant care, while simultaneously preventing the compulsive rituals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)360-363
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Volume169
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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