When we hear about postpartum depression we generally think about moms. Here at Health Central we have many articles to help mothers suffering from postpartum depression including “Understanding Postpartum Depression” and “A Look at Postpartum Depression.” But did you know that new fathers may also suffer from this type of depression? A study reported in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal suggests that more than one in 10 dads become depressed after the birth of their child. In addition, the father’s depression is associated with a greater risk for the mother to develop depression in that same time period following the baby’s birth.
Other highlights of this story include:
• Some studies indicate that depression in the mother or father is linked to long term behavioral and psychiatric problems in the child.
• While hormones may trigger postpartum depression in women, environmental reasons such as sleep deprivation, relationship stress and isolation from friends are more predominant factors for the development of this type of depression in men.
• While women’s depression may manifest in sadness, men’s depression may manifest in greater hostility or even aggression.
• Preventive measures include: Men may need to have a therapist there for them after the birth of their child, especially if the father has a history of depression. Couples who are going to have a baby and are having difficulties within their relationship may need to undergo couples therapy. For dads who feel anxious about the new baby, a parenting or personal finance class may be of help.
As always, when such studies are cited, it is best to go back to the original source. The results of this study, conducted by researchers from the Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, are published in the May 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
For more information and resources about depression in men please refer to these HealthCentral articles:
Support for Dads with Postpartum Depression:
Support for Fathers Helping Their Wives Overcome Postpartum Depression:
If you are a dad who is or was experiencing depression following the birth of your child please share your story here with us. It helps others to know that they are not alone in this. Tell us your story.