When Dad Has Postpartum Depression

Posted April 16th, 2012 in After Pregnancy, Birth Doula in Fresno, Dads, Fresno birth, Fresno Birth Doula, Motherhood by Kathryn DiPalma

When Dad Has Postpartum Depression

By Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.
Associate Editor

Moms aren’t the only ones who struggle with postpartum depression. Dads struggle, too.

In this 2010 meta-analysis published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers reviewed 43 studies with over 28,000 participants and found that 10 percent of men had prenatal or postpartum depression. That’s more than double the rate of men who suffer from depression in the general population — 4.8 percent.

Symptoms of Depression

In their book The Pregnancy & Postpartum Anxiety Workbook: Practical Skills to Help You Overcome Anxiety, Worry, Panic Attacks, Obsessions and Compulsions, authors Pamela S. Wiegartz, Ph.D, and Kevin L. Gyoerkoe, PsyD, note that depression can strike dads at any time, from their wife’s pregnancy to months after their child’s birth.

Symptoms of depression can include depressed mood; loss of interest in activities; fatigue; changes in sleep; changes in appetite or weight; difficulty concentrating or making decisions; feelings of guilt or worthlessness; and thoughts of death or suicide.

Men, however, may struggle with different symptoms. The lead author of the above meta-analysis, James Paulson, told Scientific American (in this piece by Katherine Harmon) that some researchers have called for a change in the diagnostic criteria because men tend to struggle with irritability, detachment and emotional withdrawal.

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