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Expert Says Postpartum Depression Must Be Treated Promptly, Carefully

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(Uniformed Secret Service officers, a day after a woman led authorities on a car chase from the White House to the US Capitol. Miriam Carey, of Stamford, Connecticut was finally shot dead by police in front of the Hart Senate Office Building.   Credit: Mandel Ngan/ AFP/ Getty Images)

(Uniformed Secret Service officers, a day after a woman led authorities on a car chase from the White House to the US Capitol. Miriam Carey, of Stamford, Connecticut was finally shot dead by police in front of the Hart Senate Office Building. Credit: Mandel Ngan/ AFP/ Getty Images)

John McDevitt John McDevitt
John McDevitt has been a reporter and editor at KYW Newsradio 1060...
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By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The mother of the woman who was shot to death by police after a chase yesterday in Washington, DC (see related story) says her daughter suffered from postpartum depression after giving birth last year.

One area expert on postpartum depression says it is a mental illness with a broad range of manifestations.

According to experts, nearly ten percent of women will suffer anxiety, sadness, and worry that something will happen to the baby or to themselves.

Then there is the most extreme form of the illness, called postpartum psychosis.

“That affects about one in a thousand women — it is very rare,” says Dr. Lindsay Sortor, a clinical psychologist at the Penn Center for Women’s Behavioral Wellness. “Postpartum psychosis  is characterized by erratic  behavior, frenetic energy, illusions, paranoia, thoughts of harming the baby.”

Sortor says all forms of postpartum mental illness are treatable with medications but an accurate diagnosis must be made.

“And ufortunately, if it is not treated accurately or effectively, then it can simply persist,” she notes.

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