Can Men Get Postpartum Depression?
Can men get 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) / Paternal Postnatal Depression. After the birth of a child fathers are at risk of PPPD just like new mums. A study has shown that lower testosterone levels in men can cause depression.
Hormonal changes after the birth of a child can, and do, leave to new dads suffering with the baby blues or postpartum depression.
A new baby can be equally overwhelming for a dad as well as mum. It’s a HUGE change in your life.
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.
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. Sleep deprivation can be a major cause of postpartum depression and it’s important to try and look after yourself.
The causes of Postpartum Depression include:
- sleep deprivation
- poor relationship with mother
- extra stress due to becoming a dad
- hormone changes
- feelings of exclusion due to the new baby
- lack of support from others
What Are The Symptoms Of Paternal Postpartum Depression (PPPD)?
The symptoms of Paternal Postpartum Depression (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
- feeling sad
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. Paternal Postpartum Depression (PPPD) is treatable and with the right support and guidance you will get better.
It’s best to seek help as soon as possible if you think you may have PPPD as if left untreated it can cause consequences for you, your child and your marriage.
Seeking help is not a sign of weakness – it takes strength and bravery to stand up as say something isn’t right I need help.
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 or other health professionals for a diagnosis. It’s best to start treatment as soon as possible.
Paternal 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!
Where To Get Help For Paternal Postpartum Depression?
For more information on Paternal Postpartum Depression (PPPD) head over to www.SadDaddy.com
You can also find further information from DR. Courtney over on PostpartumMen
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.