15 October 2014 – About 150 people attended a talk on Postpartum Depression and Puerperal Psychosis given by an International Medical University (IMU) Alumnus, Dr Sivakumar Appan at the John Bosco Lecture Theatre, IMU Clinical School in Seremban. It was organised by the IMU Alumni and IMU’s Department of Psychiatry.
Commenting on the talk, Dr Sivakumar said, “The audience was enthusiastic and responded positively to the talk. This talk was aimed at providing awareness of the two serious psychiatric postpartum conditions – Postpartum Depression and Puerperal Psychosis. Depression and psychosis present risks to both the mother and her infant, as such making an early diagnosis, treatment and risk management is very important.”
In his research in UK, Dr Sivakumar found out that premature pregnancy and first-child women are at a higher risk of developing postpartum depression though guilt or worthlessness. He also found out that by 2020, depression would be the second greatest cause of premature death and disability. He also showed the audience the method and management to access or identify these group of people. However, clinician often underestimate reports that makes it harder to find these people.
Postnatal psychosis is a mind disorder with sudden onset of psychotic symptoms which follows severe depression after childbirth. This is uncommon and often occurs during the first month after giving birth. These people would encounter symptoms such as delusion, hallucination, odd behaviours, and irrational thoughts. This group of people are usually treated with prophylactic lithium, a mode stabilising drug. Dr Sivakumar strongly pointed out that although the drug may suppress and control the situation, however family, peers, partner and children support is very crucial for the well-being. Dr Sivakumar is a graduate of the IMU MBBS. He is currently a full time Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist based in the Forensic Directorate, NHS (National Health Service) Greater Glasgow & Clyde. He is also responsible for acute admissions to the Medium Secure Forensic Psychiatric Unit, Rowanbank Clinic and provide consultant input to the Forensic Community Mental Health Team. In addition to this, he is a Visiting Prison Psychiatrist at HMP Cornton Vale (Scotland’s main women’s prison). Apart from his clinical responsibilities, he is one of the Clinical Leads for the Scottish Patient Safety Programme currently being rolled out in NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde. Dr Sivakumar has trained and worked in Forensic Psychiatry services across several Health Boards in Scotland as well as General Psychiatric Services in England. He is involved in the teaching and training of psychiatric trainees and medical students in Glasgow. He has a keen interest in matters pertaining to the Criminal Justice system and has significant experience in providing medico legal expert evidence reports on a variety of criminal and civil cases instructed by the Crown Prosecution Service, Sheriff Court Service and independent solicitors.