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From The CriticsReviewer: Cynthia Breaux, PhD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This comprehensive, timely monograph treats categories of postpartum mood disorders — "blues," depression, psychosis — as distinct postpartum states, deviating from the traditional approach of placing these disorders on a continuum. The book is notable for its broad range of contributing authors made up of clinicians, researchers, and self-help volunteers who succeed in capturing an inclusive perspective.
Purpose: The purpose is to summarize advances in theory, research, and treatment resulting from a recent surge of clinical and research interest in postpartum mood disorders. The editor provides a thorough examination of unanswered questions surrounding this group of disorders, thereby meeting this objective.
Audience: Intended for psychiatrists and women's healthcare providers, particularly those involved in postpartum mood disorders, this book is also useful for researchers and practitioners in allied areas who would benefit from information gained in this area of research. It is evident that the authors were carefully chosen to best represent their area of expertise. This care is reflected in the high caliber and multidisciplinary range of the contributors.
Features: The first four chapters of Section I focus on the biological aspects of postpartum mood disorders. The treatment of the relationship between depression in the postpartum stage and mood changes in other parts of the reproductive cycle (e.g., the premenstruum) is especially well done in Chapter 2. Chapter 5 considers the vital topic of cultural influences on postpartum mood states. The effects of postpartum mood disorders on children, another crucial aspect of this subject, is covered in Chapter 7. Finally, Section II thoroughly covers family therapy, pharmacological intervention, self-help treatment, group therapy, and volunteer networks.
Assessment: Although disturbance during the postpartum period has been recognized for centuries, scientific investigation has only recently been applied to this complex and important topic. This comprehensive text, detailing recent advances in research and treatment on postpartum mood disorders, fills a long-standing need for information on women's mental health issues in general, and postpartum mood states in particular. It is outstanding in its thorough and thoughtful treatment of the subject matter and makes a significant contribution to the study and treatment of this important group of disorders.