1 School of Life Science, University of Skövde, Sweden
2 Skaraborg Hospitals, Falköping, Sweden
3 Institute of Health and Caring Sciences, The Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
The most serious type of psychiatric disorder in connection with childbirth is postpartum
psychosis. With this disorder occasionally follows emotional rejection of the infant which has serious long term effect on
mother and child. The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of the recovery process of postpartum psychosis
from the women, from the partners of the women, and their next of kin.
Interviews were conducted with seven women, who had previously suffered postpartum psychosis, and six of
their next of kin. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using content analysis.
Two categories emerged: the recovery process and the circumstances of the support provided. The women and
their next of kin spoke about the turning point in the illness, their own personal as well as their social recovery, the
importance of support not only from relatives and friends, but also from professionals, and the use of medication.
However, the key to recovery was an internal decision by the women themselves.
Conclusion is that the recovery from this severe mental disorder requires hard work and the key to their
recovery was the decision made by the women. This disorder causes a mental darkness to descend, but at the start of the
recovery a dim light shines in the dark tunnel. The nursing staff must be made aware that good sleep is important for the
psychiatric treatment and that recovery may take a long time. The nurse needs to provide hope and encouragement, as
well as help the woman to recognise the strength that exists within her. To reduce the risk of a recurrence of the disorder,
the staff needs to offer follow up visits.
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