Male Postpartum Depression Is Real, And It Occurs More Often Than We Think

By Tanya Diente, Parent Herald May 25, 11:40 pm

Men are susceptible to experiencing postpartum depression too like women, and the stressors that prompt the sickness has something to do with the changes the birth of the baby brings.

Causes Of Male Postpartum Depression

People rarely hear about men suffering from postpartum depression. Majority of the women who experience the disease are those who carried the baby for nine months because they went through all that being pregnant has to offer: the bloated stomach and face, the swollen feet, and worst of all, the morning sickness.

However, a study revealed that postpartum depression is not only triggered by hormonal changes but also by environmental factors. For first-time dads, the changes in his life because of the baby's arrival can lead to post-natal depression.

"It's about a change in relationship, change in finances and a change in responsibility," Dr. Andrew Mayers, a psychology professor in perinatal mental health at Bournemouth University, said.

According to Mayers, another factor involves the assumption that men need to man up, so dads do not talk about their struggles or emotions in their new role as a dad. This is why the depression usually happens in the first year of parenthood.

Dr. Christine Greves, MD, an ob-gyn at Orlando Health, added that the stress a new child brings in the household could also lead to male postpartum depression.

"Some other things that may trigger depression have to do with having a baby in the home, like sleep-deprivation, changing of schedules, increased responsibility, and changes in diet and exercise," Dr. Greves explained.

Greves added that "approximately 10 percent of men experience a postpartum type of depression." However, men can be checked for their risk of suffering depression through their testosterone level.

"Men who had lower testosterone levels were at an increased risk for postpartum depression," Greeves said, citing the 2017 study from the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

Symptoms Of Male Postpartum Depression

Regardless of gender, parents who experience postpartum depression share one similarity. They both feel that overwhelming sense of emotion that comes with being a parent, although they go through different sensations.

Greves said that men may be overwhelmingly anxious and have intrusive thoughts or insomnia. Some may also feel inadequate in their role as a dad, can be unusually irritable, and hostile or indifferent to their partner.

Cognitive behavioral therapy and counseling can treat male postpartum depression. Medication and peer support groups can also provide help for those suffering the disease.

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