Even though their bodies do not go through the same hormonal changes as women’s, new fathers can also exhibit the same signs of postpartum depression mothers experience shortly after giving birth. A team of researchers has analyzed the phenomenon and published the new findings in JAMA Psychiatry, on Wednesday, February 15th.
The scientists discovered that just over four percent of new dads experience elevated symptoms of unease and depression after their children are born, just like the mothers. At the moment, the concept of new dads experiencing postpartum depression is relatively new. With the new findings, the authors are hoping to raise awareness on the situation and help new parents deal with postpartum depression. The researchers say that acknowledging one self’s condition and seeking medical help from an early stage could help new parents more effectively rather than avoiding to discuss the subject.
“There is currently very limited recognition of, or provision for, psychological ill health among men in the perinatal period”, said Hull York Medical School’s Dean McMillan.
Although not affiliated with the study, McMillan pointed out men are hesitant to ask for professional help and pin emotional distress on stressors rather than associate feelings of unease with early signs of postpartum depression.
University of Auckland’s team of researchers looked at 3,500 New Zealand expecting couples and assessed their mental health. Male partners’ symptoms in regard to postpartum depression were ranked on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, the same screening tool used for mothers.
Parents separating after the baby’s birth, poor health, unemployment, past episodes of depression or anxiety were all causes associated with men experiencing depression after their children’s birth. Even if some men are affected by this condition, their numbers are still significantly less prevalent than among women. Scientists estimate approximately 14 percent of new mothers experience depression after delivery. The subject might exhibit symptoms such as anxiety, anger, trouble bonding with the baby, or hopelessness.
In some cases, women could experience severe symptoms. In a 2013 study, also published in JAMA Psychiatry, researchers found that almost 20 percent of women with postpartum depression reported having suicidal thoughts.
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