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J Affect Disord. 1992 Sep;26(1):25-30.

Puerperal psychoses: a clinical case study with follow-up.

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Dipartimento Scienze Neurologiche e Psichiatriche, Università di Firenze, Florence, Italy.


Thirty cases of post-partum psychotic disorders occurred between 1973 and 1987 and hospitalized at the Psychiatric Ward of Florence University were studied and followed up. A structured diagnostic interview was used, which explored DSM Ill-R diagnosis both for mood disorders and for psychotic features. The psychotic symptoms had started within 8 weeks of parturition in all cases. Only 36.7% of the patients showed no subsequent pathology after the puerperal symptoms. The diagnoses, both at the index episode and at the follow-up, revealed a great predominance of mood disorders and the absence of schizophrenia. The follow-up survey showed a greater proportion of bipolar disorders than it appeared at the puerperal onset of the disease. A high frequency of puerperal psychotic relapses has also occurred after subsequent deliveries during the follow-up period.

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