Childbirth can trigger a jumble of powerful emotions in the parents, especially if it’s their first child. From feelings of joy and excitement to nervousness and anxiety, the arrival of a new member of the family can be a taxing endeavor. However, the one emotion that a new parent may least expect is depression, especially in the father. So, what is postpartum depression for men and what do you need to know about it? Let’s take a look down below.
You can define postpartum depression in men as an intense episode of major depressive disorder which occurs soon after the birth of a child. Postpartum depression (PPD) is most commonly associated with mothers, but it can happen to fathers as well.
Often the issue of postpartum depression in males is overlooked as mothers are more susceptible to “baby blues.” Unfortunately, the awareness surrounding postpartum depression for men is not as common as it is for women. In reality, PPD can catch up to any new parent, regardless of their gender.
Up to 1 in 4 men will experience postpartum depression, but only 10% of cases of postpartum depression in men are reported. Unlike the normal stress that every parent faces after the birth of a child, PPD is a clinical condition.
Read the article Postpartum Depression symptoms – What you need to know!
The reason that it affects men is that childbirth is a shared experience for both partners. One may wonder, if the mother is the one who goes through all the difficulties of labor, why does PPD affect men?
Several factors can contribute to postpartum depression in men. Some of these are:
Another factor that can contribute to PPD in the father is PPD in the mother. Half of the men whose wives are suffering from postpartum depression will undergo depression as well.
Although postpartum depression for men is a serious condition, fortunately it is also highly treatable. However, if left unnoticed, it can cause long-term damage and consequences to not only for the father, but for the whole family.
Symptoms of postpartum depression in men can be different from women. However, normal stress after childbirth does not automatically translate to PPD.
So, how can you tell if a new father is going through normal stress or PPD? Here are a few common symptoms of PPD in men:
These symptoms may start to occur in men during the first year after the child is born.
Postpartum depression not only affects the father, but the whole family.
The impacts of PPD in men on the partner and child are considerable and sometimes lasting. Some of the common consequences might include:
Other than these, a child’s development is also hindered. A few common problems include:
Such behaviors of neglect and aggression can lead to the following deficits in child development:
Postpartum depression, if not treated, can lead to problems – especially in the child’s development. It’s an issue that affects not only the person undergoing it, but the whole family as well.
Treatments for postpartum depression include therapy, medications, and some self-care tips.
Postpartum depression in men usually goes away on its own within three months of childbirth. However, if your symptoms seem severe and interfere with your daily functioning, then you should seek the advice of a therapist.
Often psychotherapy alone is enough for treatment. However, depending on your severity, your psychiatrist may prescribe you some medications. The option of hospitalization is also available, but only for critical cases.
In any condition, it is better to seek treatment as soon as possible so it doesn’t damage your health, relationships, or your child’s development. Let’s take a look at how these treatment options can help you.
As PPD for men can be as severe as clinical depression, therapy can be of great help.
You don’t have to prepare anything special before therapy. Your doctor will discuss some topics related to your condition, such as what are your feelings? Are you overwhelmed? What beliefs do you hold about your new child? Do you have any history of mental illnesses? How is your life now? Etc.
After these questions are over, your therapy will start. The most common approaches used in talk therapy are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Interpersonal Therapy.
In CBT, your therapist helps you to identify and correct your distortive thinking behaviors. Furthermore, they teach you new coping mechanisms that you can use to counter your stressful emotions.
In Interpersonal therapy, your therapist will help you to assess and improve your relationships. It will take you some time, but treatment will work wonders so you can start enjoying your new child.
Often your therapist will prescribe some short-term medications to boost the results. Antidepressants are designed to treat any sort of depression, including PPD in men.
Medications work especially well for treating sleep and diet problems as they will work to restore different chemical imbalances in your brain. If you don’t have any issues with meds, you can ask your healthcare provider to prescribe you some antidepressants.
If medicine is not your thing, you can always try alternative treatments which may benefit some people more. Such treatments include:
After you’ve consulted with your doctor, here are a few things you can do on your own to help yourself.
Postpartum depression is as real for men as it is for women. Some form of stress is always anticipated with the arrival of your newborn. However, if your depression isn’t going away even after a couple of weeks, then this could indicate Postpartum depression. If you find yourself in similar circumstances, remember that you can always reach out and get help from others. Doing so will make sure your depression stays at bay and you can go back to enjoying your blessing of becoming a father.
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