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Can Guys Get Postpartum Depression

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Dads And Partners Can Experience Depression In The First Year After Birth

Dont just ignore it: Postpartum depression in men

The number of men who become depressed in the first year after becoming a dad is double that of the general population . Twenty five percent of dads experience mild depressive symptoms and around 10% to 12% have a diagnosis of depression .

First time dads are appear to be more vulnerable to postnatal depression than dads welcoming subsequent children .

Paternal Depression And Anxiety: Signs To Watch Out For

Common physical signs might include:

  • trouble sleeping, or sleeping and waking at usual times
  • weight loss or gain
  • ongoing headaches or muscle tension .

Changes in emotion and moods can also be signs of antenatal or postnatal depression. For example, you might feel:

  • isolated or disconnected from your partner, friends or whnau
  • unable to enjoy things that you used to find fun
  • fear of looking after your baby.

You might have changes in thinking – for example, you might:

  • be unable to concentrate or remember things
  • have trouble making decisions or doing everyday tasks
  • have thoughts of being overwhelmed, out of control, or like you cant cope
  • think about death or suicide.

You might also have changes in behaviour – for example, you might:

  • not be interested in sex
  • withdraw from your family or want to spend more time at work
  • use drugs or alcohol to try and cope.

Source: Antenatal depression and postnatal depression in men

Raising Children Network

The Australian parenting website

Give Yourself A Break

Parenthood is difficult and can bring about a range of feelings, both positive and negative. It is common to feel overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, and burnt out at times. Many new parents who experience negative feelings think that there is something wrong with them. This can cause shame, which can further increase depression. Rest assured that these feelings about being a parent are normal. Stop beating yourself up and instead praise yourself for acknowledging the difficulty and trying to help yourself be a more present parent.

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Watch For Signs Of Paternal Depression And Anxiety

Prenatal and postpartum depression can look different in men than it does in women. Men may experience some traditional symptoms fatigue and changes in sleep or appetite but they often exhibit fewer outwardly emotional expressions, such as crying.

Common symptoms for paternal prenatal or postpartum depression include:

  • Anger, sudden outbursts, or violent behavior
  • Increase in impulsive or risk-taking behavior, including turning to substances such as alcohol or prescription drugs
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle aches, stomach, or digestion issues
  • Poor concentration
  • Withdrawing from relationships
  • Working a lot more or a lot less

If you or a loved one experience prenatal or postpartum anxiety or depression symptoms that intensify or last longer than two weeks, talk with your doctor about possible treatment options.

Postnatal Depression In Men

Can Men Get Postnatal Depression? Dad

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New research from Sweden shows that, over the past 10 years, a significant number of fathers have struggled with their mental health during early parenthood.

The study of 447 Swedish fathers found that 28% of men had symptoms that scored above mild levels of depression. 4% had moderate depression and fewer than one in five fathers who were depressed sought help.

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Can Men Get Postpartum Depression Studies Say Yes

Having a newborn child can be a rewarding and joyful experience. But, some new parents might experience the baby blues, in which feelings of unexpected stress, anxiety, and guilt dawn over them.

Until recently, this baby blues has been thought of as a strictly female phenomenon as they are the child bearers. While it may be more common for new mothers to feel symptoms of postpartum depression, new fathers are also susceptible to this depressive state.

If we look at the numbers, postpartum depression in males is actually fairly common. A meta-analysis of studies done in 2010 estimates that 10.4% of males experience depression after having a newborn. And, this may be as high as 25.6% in the 3- to 6-month postpartum period.

Postnatal Depression In Dads And Partners Can Show Itself In Different Ways Than In Mums

Symptoms can include:

  • fear, confusion, helplessness and uncertainty about the future

  • withdrawal from family life, work and social situations

  • frustration, irritability, cynicism and anger

  • physical symptoms like indigestion, changes in appetite and weight, diarrhoea, constipation, headaches, toothaches and nausea.

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A Range Of Factors Can Make Dads And Partners More Likely To Get Postnatal Depression

Dads who are under 25 are more likely to experience postnatal depression than their older counterparts .

Yet age isnt the only risk factor for postnatal depression in men. Other major risk factors include a history of depression and anxiety, financial pressures, and no longer being in a relationship with the childs mother .

Other factors that make postnatal depression in men more likely include: sleeping or crying issues with the baby drug abuse or dependence and feeling unsupported by their partners .

However, the relationship between these factors is unclear so they might not necessarily be the direct cause of mental health difficulties.

Can Men Get Postpartum Depression Too

Postpartum depression can affect dads, too

Many people may wonder whether or not men can suffer from postpartum depression. In reality, men are susceptible to developing a depressive disorder during their partners pregnancy and/or after the birth of the new baby.

Unfortunately, there is not much awareness surrounding postpartum depression in men because it is not as common as PPD in women, and the condition often goes undiagnosed and untreated. Thankfully, the medical community is becoming more aware of PPD developing in men. The Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics published an article in 2020 about the importance of providing mental health screening to both new parents, not just the woman that gave birth.

Approximately 25% of new fathers will suffer from symptoms of postpartum depression however, only about 10% of cases get recorded. The condition in men is known as paternal postpartum depression or paternal postnatal depression .

If you suspect you or your loved one is suffering from paternal postpartum depression, educate yourself on the symptoms and treatment options available for new fathers. You can also share your concerns with your doctor or healthcare provider, who may provide a depression screening to determine whether or not you or your partner has developed paternal postpartum depression.

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Connect With Other Dads

Social support and connection with other people can help you cope with the adjustment to parenthood.3 Even if you do not talk openly about your experiences, spending time with others decreases isolation and loneliness. Try to plan an outing with a friend or see if there is a dads group in your area.

How Do Mental Health Professionals Test For Paternal Depression

Clinical questioning is a probable part of a diagnosis for depression. Experts either use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition , or the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale . Both require a patient health questionnaire to review how severe the condition is presenting. Before making a diagnosis, other tests – such as blood analysis or family health history questionnaires – may also be conducted to rule out any other underlying conditions that may be causing the depression.

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How To Get Help For Male Postpartum Depression

You can start the process of getting help for postpartum depression by bringing up your symptoms with your physician. They can assess you for depression and provide you with a referral for treatment. You can also contact your health insurance company for a list of in-network mental health providers or conduct your own search through an online therapist directory. There are many mental health providers that specialize in treating postpartum depression and helping families adjust to parenthood.

The type of provider and treatment that you seek will depend upon what you are looking for. If you would like medication, you will want to search for a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner. For therapy, you can seek out a psychologist, social worker, counselor, or therapist. Depending upon their specialty, they may be able to provide individual, group, and/or couples therapy. Therapists may offer different approaches for treating postpartum depression depending upon their training and experience. You can inquire about what type of therapy they use to treat depression during your initial consultation.

How To Get Help For A Loved One

Pin on Relationships

If you are concerned about a loved one who may be dealing with postpartum depression, you can start by bringing up your concerns to them and offering some options. You may want to suggest that they try speaking with a therapist or attending a support group to start. Some people may be nervous about getting help. If this is the case, you can offer to help set up the first appointment or go with them. You can also offer to provide childcare while they get help.

As a loved one, you can offer help but cannot force someone into treatment. If your loved one is unwilling to go, do not keep pushing. This may cause them to be more resistant. Instead, respect their feelings and remind them that you are there to help if they should change their mind.

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Symptoms Of Postpartum Depression In Men

Although feelings of exhaustion and stress are part of parenthood, if they persist, limit someone’s ability to care for their child, or interfere with their daily tasks, it could be more serious than the regular challenges of this time. Symptoms of postpartum depression in men are extremely similar to major depressive disorder, though vary from person to person.

The timing that mothers and fathers experience prenatal and postpartum depression typically differs. After delivery, women usually show symptoms within four-to-six weeks, though in some cases signs can appear as late as three months. In men, symptoms of prenatal depression are highest during the first trimester and three-to-six months in the perinatal period. Men and women also present the disorder in different ways, with fathers typically withdrawing from their family, extending their working hours, or losing interest in activities.

People may experience some or all of these common symptoms of parental depression, which include:

  • Feeling sad or hopeless
  • Thoughts of suicide or death
  • Intrusive thoughts of harming the baby

Ppd Is Not Just Baby Blues

Paternal postpartum depression is more than the baby blues. It is a serious condition that can impact men in different ways. They may be more at risk for postpartum depression if they have a previous history of depression. Adjusting to being a parent is a difficult task for a person of any gender. They may experience loss of interest in things that once brought joy, anger issues, hopelessness, and withdrawal tendencies.

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Pregnancy And New Fathers

In most cases, new moms have a lot of time with their newborn allowing for intense bonding between the two. This is due to maternity leave, gender expectations, and still being in recovery from birth themselves. Before the birth of a child, the father is likely to have been the main focus of their partner. This new family member which requires a lot of attention can conjure up feelings of loneliness and rejection in new dads.

Additionally, the decreased amount of intimacy with their partner, sleep deprivation, and intense guilt caused by their inability to bond with the child can all heighten these negative feelings – leading to postpartum depression.

Men are commonly overlooked when it comes to mental health and this is especially true for a new father. The lack of support given when the new baby arrives when compared to their partner can lead to feelings of neglect and resentment, and feed further into the unreasonable gender expectations put upon them.

What Is Perinatal Anxiety

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The symptoms of perinatal anxiety can include:

  • Avoidance: Not helping with the baby, not putting baby furniture together, not helping with shopping, etc.
  • Withholding affection: For example, instead of engaging with the baby when he cried, Peter found himself putting him in the bouncy chair to distract him.
  • Hyper-arousal: inability to sleep, focus, or self-regulate.
  • Feeling anxious, on edge, or worried a lot, most days.

Its natural for new parents, especially first-time parents, to feel anxiety and have mood swings. Still, Singley says it comes down to how the emotions are affecting your ability to function.

Maybe is experiencing hyperarousal, so hes staying up all night playing video games. Then, hes too tired and moody to help with the baby. Thats the functionality aspect. And eventually, it starts having downstream impacts on the relationship.

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Medication Used To Treat Postpartum Depression

Typically, serotonin reuptake inhibitors – or SSRIs – are used to treat depression. However, these drugs aren’t the right option for every person as they can sometimes cause unwanted side effects. Thankfully, there are also a number of other medications that can be considered for treatment.

Every individual’s brain functions very differently, so finding the right medication for each is mostly a journey of trial and error. If someone on antidepressants is experiencing unsavory side effects, feels as though the medication has not changed anything, or their depression gets worse, they should notify their healthcare provider immediately to figure out an alternative treatment plan.

Getting Help For Antenatal Or Postnatal Depression

If you think you might have depression, its important to reach out for help early. With help and support, you can manage symptoms, feel better sooner, and give your baby what they need to grow and thrive.

The first step is to speak to your GP. They can guide you to the most appropriate services for you.

Here are other things you can do to start feeling better:

If youre having thoughts about hurting yourself or your family, you should urgently speak to your GP or call Lifeline on 131 114. If you believe that someones life is in immediate danger, call 000 or go to your local hospitals emergency department.

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Reflect On The Positive Aspects Of Fatherhood

Though fatherhood is challenging, there are most likely positive parts of it that you find pleasurable. It can be hard to remember these parts when you are tired, overwhelmed, or sad. Keep a list in your head or write one down and reference it when you are feeling stressed. Add more as your baby grows and you experience new joys. Reminding yourself to feel gratitude for the pleasures of parenthood can help you cope with the challenges.

Treatment For Postpartum Depression

Postnatal Depression: Symptoms &  Treatment · Mango Clinic

Seeking treatment for this disorder can be daunting, though early diagnosis and intervention are essential for the health of both the father and the overall family unit. The treatment approach for paternal postpartum depression is extremely individualistic: depending upon the severity of the disorder and the person’s situation. Typically, people undergo therapy, are prescribed medication, or both.

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Why Is Getting Tested For Parental Depression Important

Early diagnosis and intervention are key in limiting the negative health effects of the condition on the father himself and his family members. When untreated, a parent’s depression can have negative effects on their child’s development and wellbeing by:

  • Not being able to pay enough attention to their baby’s health and missing health check visits
  • Increasing the likelihood of behavioral problems for their children at preschool age
  • Increasing their risk for a physical or mental illness

A Note About Sex And Gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms male, female, or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. .

Postpartum depression is a depressive episode a person experiences after the birth of a baby. People commonly talk about in relation to females. However, males can also develop the condition.

The state that this is different from what is commonly known as the baby blues. Postpartum depression feelings last longer and are more intense.

A person with postpartum depression may experience worry, sadness, and fatigue for extended periods.

Male postpartum depression can affect 1 in 10 new dads. Postpartum anxiety often occurs in addition to depression.

First-time dads may be the most vulnerable to male postpartum depression.

Male postpartum depression may not necessarily become immediately apparent. This could develop over the course of about a year.

There may be various causes for male postpartum depression. Below, we outline some of these possible causes.

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What Can I Do About Paternal Postnatal Depression

It can be tough for anyone to admit they have depression, but it can be especially difficult for men. Many dont believe postpartum depression can even happen to men, but we know better now, right? Seeking treatment is a powerful thing, for it allows you to put your health and the health of your family first and foremost, where it belongs. Just remember the Postpartum Support International Motto: Youre not alone, dads. Youre not to blame. And you will be well.

1) The first step is to recognize whats going on with you and take it seriously. Often, after dads ask and learn that, yes, men can get postpartum depression too, I hear them say, Yeah, I think thats what Ive got, then laugh it off. Taking your health seriously is important for the recovery of you and your entire family.

2) Seek support and resources. Your wife/partner, family, or friends may be a good place to start when seeking support. Just having one or two people you trust who know whats going on can make a big difference in helping you recover. Learn all you can about PPND and treatment options. There are some great online resources just for dads .

3) Work on family sleep. You need sleep to function well, and your family does too. Coupleswork together to help each other get as much rest as possible.

4) Take a break as needed. I encourage new moms to take a little time for themselves each day and dads should do the same.

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