Men usually do not remember the term “postpartum depression”. Instead, it is usually associated with women who are stereotypically portrayed on TV and in movies crying sporadically and uncontrollably. Although postpartum depression (PPD) is a serious and common problem in women, men also often experience it. In fact, paternal depression affects anywhere between 2% to 25% of men during their partner’s pregnancy or the first year after delivery. Furthermore, this rate can jump to 50% if the mother suffers from PPD.
What is postpartum depression?
What is postpartum depression and how can it be recognized? PPD is usually defined as an episode of major depressive disorder that occurs shortly after the birth of a child. This should not be confused with “Daddy Blues”, which is a less serious form of depression. Blues symptoms are roughly experienced by one in four fathers; However, in contrast to PPD, blues are usually facilitated by extra sleep, exercise and other pleasurable activities.
PPD symptoms are permanent and can constantly affect mental and physical health. Hormone fluctuations are a biological part of pregnancy and even expectant fathers can experience noticeable changes in their hormone levels. With an increase in estrogen, prolactin and cortisol, men may experience a decrease in their testosterone levels. Symptoms, such as nausea and weight gain, may develop. Fluctuations in this type of hormone before and after birth are associated with PPD.
Unfortunately, due in large part to stigma, there are no established criteria for the treatment of PPD in men and it is often undiagnosed and undesirable. Men may present during the first year with symptoms such as boredom, limited emotions and depression. However, while these changes in mood and behavior may be noticeable, they may not be considered symptoms of depression. Common symptoms may include self-separation from friends and family, easily discouraged or frustrated, and loss of interest in work, hobbies, or sex. More alarming indicators may include thoughts of death or suicide, substance abuse, engaging in risky behaviors, or engaging in violent behavior.
It is very important to seek help if you experience these symptoms. Available treatments may include talking to a mental health professional or support group. Being able to communicate feelings or express concerns and doubts in a safe place is a necessary part of recovery. Another way to reduce symptoms is to exercise a lot and eat healthy. Trying to rest with a newborn can be difficult but taking advantage of the small window of time can be incredibly beneficial. It is also important to avoid alcohol, drugs and reckless behavior, as abuse of these substances can make depression worse.
Don’t be afraid to get help
Many men may feel the need to suppress or suppress their feelings in order to adjust to what society thinks is right. This can make asking for help understandably difficult; However, getting the help you need is essential for you and your child. Studies have shown that children associated with ancestral PPD have an increased risk of long-term adverse behavioral and psychological consequences.
For more information on male PPD, see the infographic below created by Larson mental health experts Mental health treatment.