Can newborns be neurotic

Puerperal depression ("postpartum depression")

Basically, the so-called postpartum mental disorders (from postpartum = after separation from the child) can essentially be assigned to three different groups: The postpartum mood depression, colloquially also "Baby Blues" called postpartum depression, which can also be associated with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders, and postpartum psychosis.



The "baby blues" that set in about 3 to 5 days after the birth due to the strong drop in hormones affects about 50 to 70 percent of mothers. It lasts from a few hours to a maximum of a week and can manifest itself through frequent crying, sensitivity, anxiety, mood swings, severe exhaustion as well as concentration, appetite and sleep disorders.

As a rule, the baby blues will subside without any further treatment. If symptoms persist for over two weeks, it may be the beginning of one Postpartum depression, which should be treated consistently as soon as possible.


About 10 to 15 percent of mothers suffer from it postpartum depression, which are by far the most common psychological disorders after birth. The signs of illness can appear up to a year after delivery, but also during pregnancy. Many affected women report one strong lack of drive ("Lack of energy"), listlessness, frequent cry and an inner feeling of Empty. But concentration, appetite and sleep disorders as well as headaches, dizziness, cardiac and other psychosomatic complaints are often mentioned. But it can also lead to fears, severe irritability, panic attacks or obsessive thoughts (compulsive destructive ideas and images).

The existing ones are particularly stressful for many mothers with postpartum depression ambivalent feelings towards their child. They often feel that they don't really love their child and that they cannot meet their needs. In extreme cases, the associated feelings of guilt can become so strong that affected mothers even think about putting an end to their lives.

Not least because of this, it is quick and effective Treatment absolutely necessary. However, many cases of postpartum disease are still not recognized and consequently not treated. In principle, the range of impairments can range from minor adjustment disorders to severe suicidal forms. If left untreated, there may be a gradual deterioration in well-being.

Lighter forms of postpartum depression can usually be treated well on an outpatient basis with psychotherapeutic measures. If the course is more severe, antidepressants (especially so-called "Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors" (SSRI) well proven.


Standing heavy that occurs again and again Feelings of fear and / or panic in the foreground, it is a separate clinical picture ("postpartum anxiety disorders"). The fears can - but do not have to - go hand in hand with the symptoms of postpartum depression mentioned above and can be vague and general or very specific.

When it comes to specific fears, the focus is usually on the baby and his or her well-being. The affected mothers then fear, for example, that the child could be harmed or even die as a result of incorrect treatment.

Postpartum anxiety disorders should also be treated with psychotherapy and medication if they are severe. Drug treatment does not necessarily have to lead to the baby being weaned. For example, if you take selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and have a close check by an experienced doctor, you can continue breastfeeding.

It is important that the mother is given competent and comprehensive advice and that her needs are taken seriously in any case!


The main characteristic of postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder are recurring Obsessions and / or compulsions. In more than half of all cases, both occur together. Obsessive-compulsive thoughts are intrusive ideas, thoughts, images or even impulses. In the case of compulsive acts, the women concerned feel that they are senseless or at least exaggerated and that they commit to inwardly
feels pushed.

The women are at least temporarily aware of the absurdity of their thoughts and actions. Even so, they fail to free themselves from the imprisonment of their obsessive thoughts and actions. Only after performing their compulsions, often for hours, can they turn to other things again.

The whole family life is severely affected by the constraints. It is not uncommon for the compulsions to become so dominant and tormenting that women withdraw completely and can no longer cope with their everyday life.

Here, too, has a treatment with selective serontonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) proven. In most cases, taking the antidepressant reduces internal tension and the obsessive-compulsive symptoms subside. In the case of compulsive thinking, this may also be possible Neuroleptic sulpiride help.



Postpartum psychoses occur significantly less often and are considered to be most severe form of postpartum mental illness. This affects about 1 to 2 women in 1,000 mothers (0.1-0.2 percent). The affected mothers often had one under one before pregnancy and birth bipolar ("manic-depressive") or one schizoaffective disorder suffered. If such a disease is known in the past, close care of the expectant mother by the attending physician and possibly preventive drug treatment should be sought in any case.

Possible signs of an acute illness postpartum psychosis can be extreme anxiety states, delusions and hallucinations as well as either a strong increase in drive and motor restlessness ("manic phase") or a massive lack of drive, movement and indifference ("depressive phase"). Hallucinations and delusions can express themselves in the fact that the women concerned hear nonexistent voices or see things or have the strong feeling that they are being threatened and persecuted by concrete or abstract people.

Postpartum psychosis is a major threat to the lives of both mother and child. For this reason, immediate inpatient treatment, ideally in an interdisciplinary mother-child facility, is absolutely essential!


An objectively difficult or subjectively experienced as particularly stressful and traumatic birth can also lead to considerable psychological impairments in the puerperium. In individual cases this can result in a so-called "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" (PTSD) develop. Research has shown that certain factors during childbirth have a significant influence on this risk. Above all, caesarean sections or other instrumental interventions, poorly supportive and sensitive obstetricians and insufficient preparation for the birth experience are mentioned in this context.

Studies suggest that about 2 to 5 percent of all women with one difficult or difficult birth experience develop post-traumatic stress disorder. A much larger number have agonizing thoughts and nightmares with no further signs of illness. Typical symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder are recurring painful inner images of the traumatic birth experience ("Birth Flashbacks"), Sleep disorders, excessive irritability with outbursts of anger, and the inability to relax and distance yourself from the experience. In addition, there is the consistent avoidance of all activities that are associated with the birth experience. For example sexuality and physical contact with the partner, visiting a postpartum ward or talking about a possible further pregnancy.

Long-term consequences of PTSD can be Fears of commitment and increased anxiety when dealing with the child. Both of these can have a negative impact on the mother-child relationship and thus possibly also influence the behavior of the growing child. It is therefore all the more important that an existing post-traumatic stress disorder is recognized and treated in good time.