Send to

Choose Destination
J Affect Disord. 1998 Sep;50(2-3):125-34.

Cycloid psychoses predominate in severe postpartum psychiatric disorders.

Author information

Department of Psychiatry, University of Würzburg, Germany.



The nosological status of postpartum psychoses has remained controversial because of their often 'atypical' symptomatology. A polydiagnostic approach may further clarify this issue.


In a retrospective study, we applied the ICD-10 and Leonhard's classification to 39 patients with severe postpartum psychiatric disorders. The patients were personally reexamined on average 12.5 years (6-26 years) after the onset of the illness.


An acute onset and a polymorphous psychotic symptomatology with rapid changes characterized the majority of our cases. Unipolar depressive disorders (28%) and acute polymorphous psychotic disorders (21%) represented the largest proportions within the ICD-10-classification. Applying Leonhard's classification, over half the patients (54%) suffered from a cycloid psychosis. Among cycloid psychoses, motility psychoses clearly predominated. Schizophrenias occurred rarely (10%) according to both classifications.


Due to the unknown prevalence of the various diagnoses among women of child-bearing age, it is impossible to statistically infer a specific association between childbirth and a distinct diagnosis from our data.


Our findings suggest that cycloid psychoses, in particular motility psychoses, account for the majority of postpartum psychoses, and do not support the hypothesis of a nosological independence of postpartum psychoses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center