Comparison of postpartum and non-postpartum manic episodes in bipolar disorder

Our research group has spent many years investigating the factors associated with the occurrence of mood episodes in the period following childbirth (postpartum) among women with mood disorders. In a recent published study of 50 women with bipolar disorder, we compared the symptom profiles of episodes of mania that occurred following childbirth to a comparison manic episode that each woman had experienced outside of the postpartum period.

Our findings showed that within the same group of women, compared to episodes of mania occurring at other times, manic episodes occurring following childbirth were characterised by a mixed presentation with a more depressive symptoms and a higher occurrence of perplexity/confusion. Our findings suggest childbirth may trigger manic episodes in a unique way leading to differences in the presentation of postpartum and non-postpartum episodes among women with bipolar disorder. In light of our findings further research is needed into whether differences in treatment response exist among women experiencing postpartum and non-postpartum manic episodes. This study was recently published the journal Psychiatry Research.