Can Men Get Postpartum Depression?

Can Men Get Postpartum Depression?According to the Mayo clinic, after childbirth many new moms experience the baby blues which includes mood swings and crying spells. The baby blues do not last for an extended period of time. Some women, however, experience a more severe, long-lasting form of depression known as postpartum depression.

Signs of Postpartum Depression

The key indicator that you are experiencing postpartum depression versus the baby blues is that the symptoms are so severe or last for so long that they interfere with your ability to handle daily tasks. Postpartum depression symptoms may include the following:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Intense irritability and anger
  • Overwhelming fatigue
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Lack of joy in life
  • Feelings of shame, guilt, or inadequacy
  • Severe mood swing
  • Difficulty bonding with the baby
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or the baby

If postpartum depression goes untreated, it may last for a year or more.

Men And Postpartum Depression

In an article published in the May 19, 2010 JAMA, Journal of the American Medical Association, studies involving more than 28,000 fathers were analyzed and the findings included the following:

  • An average of 10.4 percent of fathers suffered from depression sometime between the first trimester of their partner’s pregnancy and the child’s first birthday
  • Rates of paternal depression were highest three to six months after birth
  • Rates of paternal depression were highest in the U.S. (14.1 percent versus the international rate of 8.2 percent)
  • Rates of paternal depression are considerably higher than the annual rate for adult male depression, which is 4.8 percent

This article even suggests that paternal depression is substantial enough to be considered a significant health concern.

Causes of Paternal Depression

Hormones have most frequently been viewed as the cause of female postpartum depression; men can also experience changes in their hormones. Additional factors have contributed to paternal depression including the following:

  • Lack of good sleep
  • Personal history of depression
  • Poor relationship with spouse, parents, or in-laws
  • Stress about becoming a father
  • Nonstandard family (such as being unmarried or a stepfather)
  • Poor social functioning
  • Lack of support from others
  • Economic problems or limited resources
  • A sense of being excluded from the connection between the mother and baby

There is also a correlation between men whose partners have postpartum depression which may contribute to paternal depression.

Getting Help for Paternal Depression

Whether it is a societal influence or a personal prejudice, many men are reluctant to get help for depression, but untreated depression does not go away and can have negative effects on your health, relationships, and your ability to be the type of father you want to be. The following are some tips to help you find treatment for your paternal depression:

  • Consider whether you would be more comfortable talking to a male or female
  • Seek out a referral to a professional who has experience with paternal depression. You can get a referral from your doctor, your child’s doctor, local family service agency, local mental health agency, from fellow church members or your spiritual advisor, or even look to see if there are local men’s groups.

The sooner you get treatment, the sooner you can recover.

Paternal Depression Questions?

Paternal depression is a difficult set of emotions and behaviors to manage and we want to help, so please call our toll-free number today. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about paternal depression.