Postpartum depression: Mental illness can strike new mothers - KMSP-TV

Postpartum depression: Mental illness can strike new mothers

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PHOENIX -

We're learning new information tonight about the woman who led Capitol Police and the Secret Service on a high speed chase from the White House to the capitol.

The woman's name is Miriam Carey. She worked as a dental hygienist until about a year ago when she was fired.

Her mom says she was suffering from postpartum depression and neighbors described her as unstable.

We spoke with a doctor today about just how severe the effects of postpartum depression can be.

The new information points to mental illness causing yesterday's puzzling, violent and tragic scene. And possibly that mental illness that came as a result of giving birth.

What was racing through Miriam Carey's mind as she was racing down the street from Capitol Hill to the White House, her one year-old child in the car? We'll never know. But there is a tantalizing clue.

Carey's mother said her daughter was living with postpartum depression and mental illness.

Postpartum depression is something that concerns OBGYN doctors like Candice Wood of Banner Good Samaritan Hospital.

"They are not excited about doing things they used to like, they are overtired, anxious, worried about things that didn't worry them before," says Dr. Wood.

In addition to postpartum depression, there is something called postpartum psychosis. It is a lot rarer but it is also a lot more severe.

"It can get extremely extreme. Women who killed their children, they can hurt other people."

Her advice for doctors and for families -- always be on the lookout for signs of trouble.

"I talk to every one of my patients. One of my best friends had postpartum depression, tell them signs and symptoms so I can get them help as soon as possible."

OBGYN doctors and hospitals all check for signs of postpartum depression and psychosis.

They have resources to help.

Online: www.postpartumprogress.com 

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