Postpartum depression affects one in eight women according to WebMD. A study out in May of 2010 published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that a search of psychological data taken from January 1980 until October 2009 shows that as many as one in ten men suffer some form of depression related to having a baby.
Bouts of depression happen from the first trimester and up until the baby is a year old according to the study. The rate is more than double what is normal for depression in men. When you break down the data for the United States alone the percentage jumps to 14.1 percent of men instead of 10.4 percent worldwide according to the Los Angeles Times.
Lack of sleep during pregnancy and after birth is one leading cause of the sadness and postpartum depression in new fathers. A lack of sleep can come from having to work, care for other children in the family, and taking extra steps when preparing mother and new baby for the coming birth.
If the man’s partner is depressed it will also increase the chances of depression in the father. Unfortunately, depression in both parents can lead to negative outcomes when it comes to the child’s development.
Lack of financial and psychological support may also be a factor that increases a man’s chances of getting postpartum depression. Men are more likely to not talk about their feelings when they see how much they need to help the pregnant mother or if they realize the mother is also depressed.
Symptoms of postpartum depression in men may not be as apparent because men handle sadness differently. WebMD says that men have a greater tendency to not show their emotions when they are depressed. Men won’t talk about their feelings when they feel depressed and often come out as being angry and abusive. Drinking and alcohol abuse may also be more drastic symptoms.
The important thing for men to remember when they show signs of feeling excessively sad, angry or hopeless is that you don’t have to suffer it alone. Just simply talking about your feelings is the first step to finding help for your situation. Talk to your family doctor about depression and he or she can recommend further steps in treatment.
Newsweek reported on postpartum depression in men in April of 2009 and talked about one psychotherapists’ way to help men who go through depression while having a new baby. PostpartumMen.com is the brainchild of Dr. Will Courtenay who is based in California.
Although Dr. Courtenay did not do a formal study, he believes that as many as 1,000 men per day in the United States become depressed after a new baby is born. The number could be as high as 3,000 per day which would put it roughly at the same percentage of women who suffer from postpartum depression.
Simply talking about the feelings you have inside is the first and perhaps most important step in getting professional help. No one has to suffer alone and postpartum depression is a fact of life and not just a phase or abnormality. Asking a health professional for advice is a good way to go when seeking assistance.
This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as actual medical advice. Seek the counsel of a health professional for getting help with postpartum depression.
WebMD and the Journal of the American Medical Association provided information for this article in addition to the Los Angeles Times and Newsweek.