Research Article Critique

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Research Article Critique

Research Article Critique


Postpartum depression, also commonly known as postnatal depression is a type of depression that mainly affects women usually after she gives birth to a child. The depression can also affect men but less frequently than women. Studies in clinical psychology found estimate that 5 percent to 25 percent of the women experience postpartum disorder. The rate is quire lower among men whose possibility to suffer from the disorder ranges from 1.2 percent to 25 percent.

Although much has been written about the postpartum depression in women but there is dearth of significant research identifying the underlying bipolar depression in such women. The article “Postpartum Bipolar Depression: A Case Study” (see appendix A) attempts to fill this gap by emphasizing the importance of a differential diagnosis for the purpose of differentiating the symptoms of bipolar depression from unipolar depression.


In the article, the researchers Mary Cullen-Drill, Marianne Smith and MaryAnn Morris attempts to demonstrate the significance of differential diagnosis in the event of evaluating a patient who has developed the symptoms of postpartum depression. The authors present a case study of 29-year old married woman with the symptoms of bipolar depression to show that despite many similarities in the symptoms of unipolar and bipolar depression, there are remarkable and important differences between the two forms of clinical depression which need to be taken care of when devising a treatment plan for such patients.

The authors stress the need for clinical practitioner to evaluate the patients with postpartum depression for bipolar disorder as, according to the researchers, there are many cases when a women having mood disorder are not diagnosed accurately which may result in inappropriate and undesired treatment outcomes in those patients. Moreover, there are women who experience their first episode of bipolar disorder during the postpartum period which makes it a challenging task for the clinical practitioners to correctly identify and evaluate the symptoms of bipolar disorder or depression.

Furthermore, the article also rightly claims that nearly 69 percent of the cases of bipolar disorder are confused with other disorders of major depression (Perlis, 2005). This shortcoming, according to the authors, can be overcome by avoiding inaccurate diagnosis of patients with postpartum depression symptoms. A study of the family history can also be of great help in effectively treating such patients. The article also refers to the research in the field of genetics to prove their claim that the symptoms of bipolar disorder can be the result of family history.

Finally the article presents a case of a married woman with the bipolar disorder. The woman showed symptoms of postpartum depression such sadness, poor association with her baby, lack of energy, depressed mood, poor sleep and irritability. But upon care observation, she has also been diagnosed with the symptoms of bipolar disorder such as a history of continuously changing mood, the diagnosis of which has helped the practitioners to develop the treatment plan accordingly.


The article has clearly demonstrated the significance of correct differential diagnosis in order to differentiate between ...
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