Africa's Education News Source

Àbísínwín: Postpartum psychosis be known to women 

File Source: Google
Get stories like these delivered straight to your inbox.

Postpartum psychosis is a severe mental health condition that affects a small percentage of women after giving birth. It is characterized by a rapid onset of psychotic symptoms, including hallucinations, delusions, severe mood swings, and disorganized thinking. This is exemplified in Yoruba societies where severe forms of postnatal psychiatric disorders are termed Àbísínwín and are frequently treated as spiritual attacks, resulting in the administration of concoctions and rituals instead of evidence-based medical interventions

The incidence of postnatal depression in Nigeria is a significant concern, with multiple studies indicating that a minimum of 25% of Nigerian women experience this condition. Unfortunately, there is a notable lack of awareness regarding postnatal psychiatric disorders within the general population. Consequently, numerous women grapple with distressing symptoms without comprehending the nature of their struggle. Complicating matters, spouses and family members often struggle to provide support due to a lack of understanding, leading to frustration and bewilderment as they witness the new mother’s seemingly irrational or erratic behaviour.

Adding to the complexity, cultural beliefs play a role in exacerbating the issue. In some instances, postnatal psychiatric disorders are erroneously attributed to evil spirits or witchcraft, diverting affected individuals away from seeking essential medical assistance.

While postpartum psychosis is relatively rare, occurring in about 1 to 2 out of every 1,000 deliveries, its impact can be severe and potentially life-threatening. Hormonal changes during pregnancy and childbirth are considered one of the key factors contributing to postpartum psychosis. The sudden drop in estrogen and progesterone levels after delivery may trigger disruptions in the brain’s neurotransmitter systems, potentially leading to psychotic symptoms.A family history of psychiatric disorders, particularly bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, can increase the risk of postpartum psychosis. Genetic factors play a role in influencing an individual’s susceptibility to mental health conditions, and the interaction between genetics and hormonal changes may contribute to the development of postpartum psychosis.

High levels of stress, inadequate social support, and difficult life circumstances can contribute to the onset of postpartum psychosis. The combination of hormonal changes and external stressors may create a vulnerable environment for the development of severe mental health issues.

Sleep disruption is common in the postpartum period due to the demands of caring for a newborn. Sleep deprivation can negatively impact mental health, exacerbating existing vulnerabilities and potentially triggering psychotic symptoms in susceptible individuals.

Women with a history of mental health disorders, particularly bipolar disorder, are at a higher risk of experiencing postpartum psychosis. The hormonal fluctuations and stress associated with childbirth can act as precipitating factors for the manifestation of psychotic symptoms in those with pre-existing vulnerabilities.

Postpartum psychosis often involves the presence of delusions—strongly held false beliefs that are resistant to reason or contradictory evidence. These delusions can be related to the baby’s safety, the mother’s well-being, or other aspects of reality.

Women experiencing postpartum psychosis may have hallucinations, perceiving things that are not present. Auditory hallucinations, such as hearing voices, are common, and these experiences can be distressing and disorienting.

Severe mood swings are a hallmark of postpartum psychosis. The affected individual may rapidly shift between extreme highs and lows, and the mood changes can be intense and unpredictable.

Disorganized thoughts and behaviors are common in postpartum psychosis. The individual may struggle to communicate coherently, exhibit impulsive actions, and have difficulty organizing their thoughts.

Postpartum psychosis can impair a person’s judgment and insight into their condition. This may lead to risky behaviors or neglect of self-care, posing potential dangers to both the mother and the baby.

Prompt intervention is crucial in managing postpartum psychosis. Treatment typically involves a combination of medication, such as antipsychotic drugs, and psychotherapy. Hospitalization may be necessary in severe cases to ensure the safety of both the mother and the infant.

In addition to professional treatment, a strong support system is essential. Family, friends, and healthcare providers play a crucial role in providing emotional support, assisting with childcare, and helping the affected individual navigate the challenges of postpartum psychosis.


Postpartum psychosis is a serious mental health condition with complex and multifaceted causes. While it is a rare phenomenon, understanding its triggers and symptoms is essential for early detection and effective intervention. A comprehensive approach that combines medical treatment, psychotherapy, and social support is vital in helping women recover from postpartum psychosis and ensuring the well-being of both mother and child.

Share this article

All right reserved. You may not reproduce or republish Edugist content in whole or part without express written permission. Only use the share buttons.

Support Edugist’s goal of giving education a voice

Even a small donation will make a difference.

Related Content

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
WeCreativez WhatsApp Support
Our customer support team is here to answer your questions. Ask us anything!
???? Hi, how can I help?
Scroll to Top

Fill the form below to download the WASSCE 2024 Timetable

Be the First to Know When we Publish new Contents

“Stay ahead of the educational curve! Subscribe to Edugist’s newsletter for the latest insights, trends, and updates in the world of education. Join our community today and never miss out on valuable content. Sign up now!”