Is Postpartum Depression Common in Men As Well
It is widely acknowledged that postpartum depression is a serious mental health issue. But is this a condition that only affects women? Postpartum depression is an actual condition among men and can get serious too!
Studies show that about 1 in 10 dads experience this condition. In fact, healthcare facilitators are emphasizing screening of postpartum depression at every well-child appointment for parents. Read this blog to learn the symptoms, when to seek help, and the available diagnosis or treatment options for postpartum depression in men!
Associated Factors of this Condition
The mental health condition of parents has a significant impact on the child's overall development. However, research has indicated that depression among fathers has a link with these aspects:
- Low-income families or weak marital relationships
- Children with a high amount of mental and physical issues
- Behavioural issues in preschool age.
Once parents recognize these conditions, treatment and diagnosis options are available.
When Can This Condition Start Among Men, and What Factors Triggers the Same?
The onset of paternal depression can occur before or after the baby's birth! The symptoms of this condition range from four to six weeks after birth among women or even after about three months of delivery.
But in the case of fathers, the risk of depression peaks in the first trimester. Besides that, the risk of postpartum depression is highest during 3-6 months. Different factors trigger the condition of postpartum and prenatal depression. Check out these factors to learn more about the aspects that trigger this condition among dads!
- Hormones: Different research shows that dads undergo hormonal changes when their partner passes through pregnancy. During this period, testosterone levels typically decrease among men.
- History of Depression: If you have had earlier experiences or a family history of mental health issues, the risk of prenatal and postpartum depression can increase!
- Lack of Connection with Partner and Baby: New dads are equally eager to be a part of the experience of their child's birth. But most of the time, they are left feeling belonging to the "outside." Though mothers may not realize they are excluding the father from the experience, this exclusion may make the father feel isolated and unable to create a deep bond with the child.
- Partner Suffering from Depression: If the partner suffers from depression, the chances are higher that men may experience the same.
- Adjustment to the New Experience: Adapting to this change and the experience after becoming a parent can be overwhelming. Adapting to this change can also be difficult for dads, and they may need the right skills to adapt to it.
- Lack of Sleep: Poor sleep schedule can lead to anxiety and other related mental health issues. Most new parents get a low amount of sleep during the period of pregnancy. They often underestimate the fact that they are highly sleep deprived!
Apart from these, there are a bunch of other underlying factors that can cause postpartum depression among men. There can be financial or relationship issues, low levels of support for parenting, recent losses, and other problems that can trigger this mental health condition.
Symptoms of paternal depression
The signs of postpartum depression are quite different in men than in women. The symptoms may be conventional, like a change in appetite or fatigue. Here are some of the primary signs of postpartum depression among dads!
- Violent behaviour and anger
- Lack of motivation
- Thoughts of withdrawing from all relationships
- Different physical signs like headaches, digestion issues, body aches
- Irritable behaviour
- Extreme cases while working, either too less or more
- Thoughts of suicide
- Adopting high-risk activities
Besides these signs, anxiety is most common among men during pregnancy. This may lead to panic attacks, excessive worrying, weak concentration, and nervousness. Consult your doctor if you notice these symptoms in your partner or feel you are experiencing them.
Treatment Options for Postpartum Depression
In the case of this mental health condition, it is not enough to rely on self-help or home remedies! Seeking professional help is what you need to adopt. Your doctor may suggest more than one therapy or a combination of different therapies to treat this condition. Specific standard treatment options offered by doctors are:
- Talk therapy and psychotherapy.
- Medications to soothe behaviour and mood.
- Exercise, massage, acupuncture, and other therapies
- If both parents are struggling with depression, doctors will suggest that they undergo couple’s therapy.
Besides medications and medical assistance, families must also come forward to support the new dads. Participating as much as possible in childcare activities such as feeding, dressing, and other things helps. It is also practical to take care of the baby in different shifts so that the sleep schedule is maintained.
Also Read: How Pregnancy Can Increase Anxiety And What You Can Do To Manage It? - Dr. Shubhra Goyal