Can New Fathers Suffer With Postpartum Depression?
Can new fathers suffer with postpartum depression? YES! Postpartum Depression isn’t a gender specific mental illness – it can and does affect both men and women.
Postpartum depression in dads is also known as Paternal Postpartum Depression (PPPD). After the birth of a baby fathers are at risk of PPPD just like new mums. A study has shown that lower testosterone levels in men can cause depression.
A new baby can be equally overwhelming for a dad as well as mom. It’s a HUGE change in your life.
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What Causes Postpartum Depression In Fathers?
Many dads feel extra pressure to look after the new Mum and baby whilst also working a full time job. Being the main breadwinner for the duration of maternity leave is a major worry for many.
The change in the family dynamic and lifestyle can be difficult to adjust to, including lack of sleep and added workload at home. All this can affect mental health.
A lot of men with postpartum depression suffer needlessly in isolation as postpartum depression is usually only thought of as an illness that affects the mother.
Recent studies suggest that 1 in 10 new fathers suffer with postpartum depression.
The symptoms of PPPD include:
- feelings of being overwhelmed and helplessness
- you may feel irritable and hostile towards your family and loved ones
- difficulty bonding with baby
- feeling guilty for not loving the baby enough
- you may also suffer from panic attacks
- feeling like you can’t cope
- chronic fatigue
- lack of interest
- problems concentrating and making decisions
- crying a lot
- having scary intrusive thoughts
- thoughts of harming the baby or yourself
- consent worry about the baby’s health
Some men (just like women) turn to alcohol or drugs to numb the feelings of despair.
Research also suggests factors that contribute to postpartum depression in men are; a stressful and strained relationship with the Mum throughout the pregnancy and if the mother is suffering from postpartum depression the dad is more likely to suffer with it to.
What Are The Treatments For Paternal Postpartum Depression?
The treatments for PPPD are pretty much the same as for mothers with maternal postpartum depression.
Treatments include but are not limited to :
- Medication / Antidepressants
- Support Groups
If you’re a father and you think you may be suffering symptoms of postpartum depression it’s important to seek help from your GP for a diagnosis and so that you can begin treatment.
Postpartum depression in men is a real thing, it’s nothing to be ashamed of and it doesn’t make you a bad father. Just like it doesn’t make women bad mothers!
For more information on Paternal Postpartum Depression (PPPD) head over to www.SadDaddy.com
I have written the following posts for mums with postpartum depression but most of the information is relevant to Dads with postpartum depression too. Please click on the links and have a read and hopefully some of the information will help you.