Recovering ppp without meds - Action on Postpar...

Action on Postpartum Psychosis
2,658 members1,899 posts

Recovering ppp without meds


Did it happen before that someone who suffered from ppp was treated without medication? If yes what was the treatment .please advice

25 Replies

Dear Riham,

my boy is still snoozing, thus a very quick response.

I suffered from PPP throughout the Summer 2010. Because I refused to take medication I was sectioned to a mixed gender psychiatric hospital.

It took a very long time to try and keep my psychotic episodes under control as professionals could not find the right medication for my 'make up'. At the end some of the traditional old medications helped-but I was very poorly for 4 weeks, despite antidepressants/psychotics I did not sleep much in that 'horrific' time. I got completely weaned off by the following year in early summer...thanks to a wonderful female Spanish Psychiatrist :-)

I do believe the medication saved my life. However, I am still having problems with anxiety and fear, social phobia and agora phobia, but here I made a conscious decision that I will not take anti-depressants, but use a very alternative route based on relaxation techniques, healthy diet, exercising, painting and just appreciating; hurray I am alive and I am a survivor from PPP.

Wishing you all the best,


Hi Riham, for me the only thing that stopped the voices were the antipsychotics. After taking them, it was the first time I had quiet in my head since it started. I really dislike taking medication of any kind so naturally I did everything I could to beat it on my own but it did not work for me and I ended up prolonging my suffering longer than I needed to and putting myself in danger. The antipsychotics saved my life. They also put me on antidepressants but they did not work for me. So they took me off the AD and for recovery I have since changed my diet to include lots of fresh vegetables, sprouted grains, fermented and cultured foods and most importantly, healthy fats for my brain. I also cut out processed foods of all kinds and the big one, SUGAR. Coming off sugar I noticed a big difference after the initial groggy withdrawl. But NONE of the above can cure or treat ppp or ppd. This is all after taking the medication required to pull me out of my illness. Above all, follow your doctors guidance because postpartum psychosis is a psychiatric emergency! I kept in very close contact with my doctor until I was feeling more like myself. I am completly med free now and feeling light years away from where I was 8 months ago when the psychosis struck so it is possible and probable to heal from this. There is hope for all women who experience this horrific, painful, life altering illness. I was sure for the 6 months following my illness that I would never get myself back again but it is gradually happening. I can be here for my older daughter and twin infants again. Bless you and don't give up

One more thing..sleep was probably the most immediate need next to medication for me. The brain cannot restore nor function without sleep and will only get worse without it. The website has the most information on PPP and PP mood disorders that I have come across. I have needed answers to why this happened to me and what I could do about it and most importantly that I was not alone and that website gave me that.

I needed medicine. After that someone to talk to


I do agree with the others, mediation is the best way to treat pp, looking at the nhs website there is no other listed ways to treat pp. if u don't get treated through meds then pp gets worse.


Hi Riham, it a good question, I really disliked taking any medication & I'd barely take an aspirin before my PP - but if it wasn't for the meds, I know for sure I wouldn't be here today. Luckily I was medicated very quickly so my psychosis was relatively short & didn't escalate as far as it could have.

I did delay taking anti-depressants later on though, as I thought I could just pull through without. That wasn't the case though & it just got worse until I couldn't go on any longer without & when I did start them, they took the edge off it. Again, it was the meds that got me through & I'm pretty sure my depression wouldn't have lasted so long or been so deep if I hadn't delayed. Having said that, the day I finished taking meds 2yrs later, was a good one & a real milestone. I haven't come across many whose psychosis isn't treated with medication & sadly the ones who weren't or weren't diagnosed properly, have incredibly sad stories to tell.


Hi Riham

Thanks for your question. I would echo everything everyone has said really. Without the anti psychotic medication I don't know what I would have done, it was a lifesaver as everyone said, and the only thing that would have taken away the psychosis. With the depression which I had afterwards, I really needed the anti depressant medication as others have said just to take away the really bad, physical feelings (heavy body, not being able to get out of bed) but I do agree that I needed a lot of other things also to get over the depression too and come to terms with what had happened - talking therapy, exercise, 'mindfulness' / meditation, friends and family support etc....

I do hope you're able to find the medical support you need - for me it was really important I saw a psychiatrist regularly for the first few months, to adjust my meds when needed, and change them if needed also. At the beginning I had a really bad reaction to one anti psychotic for example, so it took a week or so before they found the right anti psychotic for me - each person responds so differently and individually to each medication so it's important you get ongoing psychiatric support.

Take care X


I hate taking medication in general but the longer pp goes unmediated, the worse it gets. A counsellor told me that a psychosis would resolve on its own eventually but he said this would take approx six months and no psychiatric unit would allow someone to be unwell for that long.

I took a high dose of aripriprizole (antipsychotic). Not too many side effects x


Hi Rhian - you might be interested in a book written by "S Lam". She had PP and also a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder. She's written "Schizophrenics can be good mothers too" about her experiences of "hot brain" (as she calls it) and motherhood and her approach (which is to not take any medication).

I disagree with her approach quite strongly - as I can see from social media that she is still very poorly from time to time - but I completely respect her wishes and its certainly her choice. The book is a very interesting and moving read, whatever your beliefs.

Hope this helps! Kx


Hello Rhiam

I hope you feel supported by the messages here. I would like to counteract the suggestion that in Chinese medicine PP and depression means weak / deficient blood. Although keeping healthy, diet and exercise can all help in recovery, they cannot prevent and cure PP themselves. You must always seek medical advice if you think that you have PP as it is a psychiatric emergency and medication is needed to overcome such a traumatic illness.

I think that as you are feeling fragile at the moment it is probably not a good idea to read the book suggested just yet ....... It's very important that you seek help. During my recoveries (I had PP twice) it was necessary for me to accept medication and other interventions, otherwise I would not be here today. You are very precious to your family and need to accept professional help to support and guide you through the ups and downs.

Please take good care of yourself.

I am so grateful with all your support mamas I visited a new psychiatrist today and I explained to him everything and he said that I am just struggling with PPOCD !thats so confusing and it's like a torture for me . I see no end for my nightmare 3 months I am struggling 3 psychiatrists diagnosed me one with ppp and the other 2 with OCD.i feel lost ,advice me


Hello Riham

Thanks for the update. Was the psychiatrist a specialist in PP? It's not very understanding to say you are "just struggling" ...... PP is such a mountain to climb on its own without OCD in the mix as well. I'm not surprised you are confused.

Have you been offered medication? To be honest in the mid-70's and early 80's my recoveries took at least two years as I also had what seemed like an endless depression. Did any of the psychiatrists have a care plan for you? It might be an idea to go back to the doctor who referred you to the Psychiatrists to ask what the next step will be for you. Did you manage to contact the support group in Dubai with the details given in your other post? Perhaps you might find help on the forum there?

I know it's very difficult for you but try not to despair. You have a very supportive husband and family to help you through this. If you are not strong enough I'm sure they will find the right outcome for you.

Take good care of yourself ..... please keep in touch if we can help.

in reply to Lilybeth

We do not have in Egypt nor in dubai psychiatrists specialized in pp ,he said if you have pp you won't struggle cause actually with pp you feel nothing is wrong with you .he said my Ocd is more suffering than pp cause with pp I don't really realize or feel what I am going through.he gave me anafarnil 25mg .i am so confused lilybeth that's not fair ,I need to rest ,I am sick of being mislead,I don't wanna mention this but what I am experiencing is killing me care plan for me yet they just give me meds and they leave me with the torture of its side effects.


Hold on Riham ........ there will be other mums here to offer advice. Lean on your husband and family to give you strength. I'll be here later.

Stay safe and take care.


Hello Riham

I hope you have been ok today. It's very hard to understand what the psychiatrist is saying to you. Perhaps he is talking about the delusions with the psychosis? When I had delusions I did think there was nothing wrong with me and that everyone else didn't understand. With respect I disagree that with PP you don't realise what you are going through because it is a very frightening experience and all very real at the time. I'm sure OCD is very difficult to cope with too.

I'm not surprised you are confused as the psychiatrists have been very dismissive of how you feel. They are being unfair because they're not listening are they? I do know that it's trial and error with medication but once you find the one that works for you it will make a difference. It's very poor that you don't have a care plan considering you have had appointments with various psychiatrists.

You must be exhausted trying to find the right care for yourself. Try to hold on to the thought that PP is a temporary illness. Hand on heart with the right medication and treatment you will recover and go on to have many happy times with your family. I know the trauma of PP is a big challenge. I would ask your husband or family to speak to the psychiatrist involved in your so called 'care' as sometimes when we have a mental illness we are not strong enough to speak up for ourselves.

Take good care and stay safe ....... we are all thinking of you.

Dear lilybeth ,your words always gives me hope,I appreciate you feel the misery I live in,I am suffering with my illness 3 months till now and I can't get where I live the proper treatment and even diagnosis.I cry everyday since 2 months .I still have hope that I will get the right treatment .you mentioned that pp is temprorary ,is this true cause I feel now that I will stay like this forever.I feel I am still hanging on in life cause of the support of my family and partner .but sometimes I get so weak that I don't want to live in this anymore.will I ever have the great feeling of motherhood with my son.will I forget all the crazy thoughts and suffer I have been through.will I have my life back again.sometimes I get the feeling that my life is unreal and this is just illusion or long long nightmare.sometimes I am really desperate but I am still struggling to survive this.i will see again another psychiatrist on Monday ,I won't give up I want to be there for my son.thats my only wish from life


Hello Riham

I am really sorry to hear you so upset but please don't despair, although I do know how that feels. As you are feeling so low right now it is hard to believe that PP is temporary ....... but it really is. Some of us have taken longer to recover but it is possible to finally enjoy all the happiness motherhood brings.

Unfortunately as you haven't been able to access the right medication and treatment you are not able to lift your mood. Are you going to a different psychiatrist on Monday? Tell him / her honestly how you are feeling and hopefully they will be able to help you. I know your nightmare seems endless but you will recover .... if only the doctors will give you time to really listen to how you feel. Can your husband speak with the psychiatrist to stress how ill you have been?

Stay safe and don't give up hope. We are all here to lean on.


Hi Riham

I'm so sorry that you are struggling like this... but I promise you will get better, PP is temporary... but it is so important you get the right meds. Your fighting spirit will get you through. I thought I would never be well but I recovered and I have an amazing and loving relationship with my son, you will too.

Maybe you could write down everything you are feeling, delusions etc, keep a kind of 'mood diary' just so when you see a psychiatrist you have 'evidence' of everything you're feeling and going through, and definitely bring your husband with you. It's so important that you get more than just the psychiatrist support too, someone you can see regularly to talk through how you are, and to give you ideas and support how to cope etc.

It will end, you will get better.

Thinking of you and just really hoping you can get the right support. X


Hello Riham

How are you this morning ...... although it's probably noon in Dubai!

I was thinking of the good advice from Ellie for you to have more than psychiatric support. I know it's been 18 months since you were in hospital but was there a nurse there you could confide in now? Sometimes just saying all that's in your head will help. Or can you talk to another woman in your family who understands?

Did you contact the Out of the Blues support network via Facebook suggested by Andrea? I've taken a look at the page and they have over 1,000 members so I think you might gain something from joining as they are in Dubai. Although PND is mentioned they might be able to signpost you to help with your PP. Usually women have all the right connections when they get together don't they? You just need to surround yourself with all the support you can find to take the pressure off yourself and family.

PP mums are strong and amazing might not feel like it at the moment but with the right medical care and support you will eventually recover as we all did. I hope the Psychiatrist will take time to listen tomorrow ....... perhaps you could mention APP to give an idea of support in the UK and ask his / her opinion about a definite diagnosis.

Stay safe and take very good care of yourself.

Finally I met a psychiatrist today who listen to me till the end.who was keen to understand exactly what I am going through.he diagnosed me with a combination of illness and we had a care a plan with meds,healthy diet and vitamins.first he is treating me from the major depression disorder.he told me we will take it step by step .he mentioned that I didn't get pp but I developed some psychosis features.he asked me not to read any stories about pp as it was the reason that kept triggering me and making me worse.i will see him next week and I hope this time will work for me.i will start taking Remron 30mg tonight (mirtazpine) .he didn't mention that I need to be hospitalized ,Pray for me mamas you have been always so supportive for me.btw I am in contact now with out of the blues Dubai and one of the great Admin called Rachel is supporting me .

Kisses and Love


Hello Riham

It must be such a relief to have a diagnosis. I'm really pleased that the Psychiatrist listened to you. Well done for making sure you were heard as it's not easy when you are not feeling well.

I'm sorry if the forum and reading about PP according to your Psychiatrist triggered your stress. At last it sounds as though you have found a plan which will work for you and you can look forward to getting better.

I'm glad you found support from 'Out of the Blues' and wish you all the best in your recovery.

Hello lilybeth

Thank you for your kind feelings ,I apologize for the misunderstanding but nothing triggered me in this forum ,on the contrary I am so glad I joined this forum as I got lots of support in here from day 1 that I didn't receive since 3 months and as I always mention I wish I had found it earlier.he meant all the stories I read earlier about pp and many sad stories about pp that made me got more anxious and worried .


Hi Riham

It was really good to read your message and to hear that you have found a psychiatrist who you feel really listened to and understood you, and has a plan of how to support you and that you have some answers. That’s so good. It’s good to hear that he doesn’t think you have PP, but have depression with psychotic features. I am sure with his support you will recover. It’s also good to hear you are in touch with the organisation in Dubai as well. I hope that will be a really good source of support for you.

care, we are here as well if you ever want to write.


Thank you for your support and highly appreciate your help ,I am so glad I knew you


I know this is an older post but it's very relevant to my own experience. I recovered from my episodes of PP without medication and stayed at home to get better.

I was really struggling and it took until day 8 for us to get a diagnosis. My illness started with no sleep for 6 days followed by mania & panic attacks which were accompanied by racing thoughts, delusions and paranoia.

After that the only thing I did was literally stay in bed for weeks to try and build up my sleep wherever possible, doing what I could in between to care for my son and eldest daughter, my husband took all of his annual leave to care for our children and allow me to get back on my feet.

I was never offered medication and we never heard about MBUs or general psychiatric care.

Following the psychosis I had around 6 months of very bad anxiety.

To help me get better Ive ensured I eat well, exercise and take things slowly I've also recently started to practise mindfulness and see a private life coach.

Despite this I was desperate to get help and would always urge anyone to take whatever help is offered to you because this is such a dangerous illness.

I am doing much better and feeling well but am deeply disappointed and feel so very let down by the lack of professional help/guidance that myself and my family received especially when I have read so many women's accounts of how essential medication was to their recovery.

You may also like...