Monday, January 24, 2011

Postpartum Depression In Men

According to a new study, fathers of newborns are twice as likely to be depressed as men in general.

Postpartum depression (PPD), also called postnatal depression, is a form of clinical depression which can affect women, and less frequently men, after childbirth.

In terms of depression, men are in general more likely than women to hide their feelings or withdraw from others. This only worsen the symptoms. Some research suggests that PPD develops more gradually in men over the course of the child’s first year than it develops in women. Men often experience depression in ways that are different from women. Men sometimes cope with their symptoms in different ways too.

Some of the classic symptoms of depression:

Depressed, sad mood
Loss of interest or pleasure
Significant weight loss or gain
Trouble sleeping or over-sleeping
Restless feelings and inability to sit still or slow down
Fatigue, loos of energy, or tired all the time
Worthless or guilty feelings
Impaired concentration and difficulty making decisions
Recurring thoughts of death or suicide

To be diagnosed with depression, a person must be experiencing five or more of these symptoms, including either depressed mood or loss of interest, over a two-week period. For men, the symptoms are seems to be unique and slightly different.

Symptoms of men’s depression:

Increased anger and conflict with others
Increased use of alcohol or other drugs
Frustration or irritability
Violent behaviour
Losing weight without trying
Isolation from family and friends
Being easily stressed
Impulsiveness and taking risks, like reckless driving and extramarital sex
Feeling discouraged
Increases in complaints about physical problems
Ongoing physical symptoms, like headaches, digestion problems or pain
Problems with concentration and motivation
Loss of interest in work, hobbies and sex
Working constantly
Frustration or irritability
Misuse of prescription medication
Increased concerns about productivity and functioning at school or work
Experiencing conflict between how you think you should be as a man and how you actually are
Thoughts of suicide

The peak period for men’s depression seems to occur between 3 to 6 months after the baby’s birth. Experts say depression in men is under diagnosed and undertreated. Women are more likely to seek care than men, and while pregnant women are being screened for depression, expectant fathers are not.

If as a wife you recognise depression in your partner, try to speak to him in a nonthreatening, nonjudgmental way, and show concern and understanding. Encourage him to talk the depression out. Rather than looking at depression as an individual phenomenon, we really should see it as a family phenomenon.

Love and care for your man!


  1. Great post on a seldom talked about subject!

  2. thanks! i was surprised myself that depression happens to fathers as well... hopefully this post will prepare fathers-to-be better =)