Postpartum Episodes and Bipolar Disorder

Doctor Ellen Leibenluft discusses two theories on the relationship between postpartum events and bipolar disorder - hormones and a disruption if the sleep-wake cycle.

We don’t know exactly what causes this very high risk for a postpartum episode in women with bipolar disorder. One question is whether it has to do with the very dramatic shifts in hormone levels that happen after a woman has a baby. But another issue to remember is that the sleep-wake cycle is very important in bipolar disorder. It’s been known for a very long time that if you sleep-deprive someone, if you make it difficult for them to get their usual amount of sleep, that can precipitate a manic episode. Of course we know that when women have just had a baby that it’s incredibly difficult to keep your sleep-wake cycle normalized. So, that also may contribute to it. In fact, there was a study of men who have bipolar disorder who become fathers, and the researchers also found there that the men who had just become fathers also had destabilization of their mood. It might be that it’s the sleep-wake cycle that’s an important part of this too.

bipolar, disorder, postpartum, birth, childbirth, mother, father, mania, hormone, risk, sleep, wake cycle, ellen, leibenluft

  • ID: 2347
  • Source: DNALC.G2C

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