All of us have heard about new-daddy blues, but do you know what is paternal postnatal depression? Yes, fathers can also suffer from postnatal depression. It is an increasingly common condition which only very few men can bring themselves to discuss it.
Let’s see how you can spot a guy/dad suffering from a paternal postnatal depression and what to do after.
Those stories about postnatal depression that you might have heard are all about new mommies struggling to keep up with life after a baby. But your partner is equally at risk when it comes to depression after a baby. Paternal postnatal depression is very much real and you need to know about the reasons for this disorder to get help at the right time.
The risk of depression in young dads found to be increased by 68% during the first five years of their children’s lives, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics.
Depression is not uncommon and you are not alone. One in four dads in the United States gets into depression. Understand that depression isn’t a weakness and it can be fought right. Recognize the symptoms and find help at the right time to get away from depression blues.
Why Does It Happen?
Hormonal changes in women during pregnancy and right after birth is normal. But men also equally go through hormonal changes. They are also struggling with ever changing hormones that play havoc in their body.
It is not just the testosterone levels which decrease, but the estrogen levels also increase. This puts them at high risk of depression right after they become dads.
A new-daddy has to struggle with hormone fluctuations along with neuro chemical change which happens in his body due to lack of sleep for the first few months. Depression can be related to stressful and emotional situations as well. Becoming a dad comes with a lot of expectations and demands which could become stressful.
Other causes of depression can be due to a rocky relationship with the partner, previous history of depression, financial problems, loss of loved ones, premature or a sick baby, anxiety and added responsibilities.
When you have your newborn at home after nine months of anxious expectations, you don’t really know how to go about it. You may be uncertain to handle the new pressure and responsibilities which might increase the stress and anxiety that eventually lead to depression.
Symptoms Of Depression
The symptoms of depression are severe and it last longer. The symptoms do not go away when you just take rest and get some good sleep. It may affect your day to day activities. A lot of men try to avoid the symptoms by simply doing more work, play some sports, or do other things to avoid what’s really happening.
It is not right to avoid the symptoms, rather when you feel low, feel not so motivated, or experience stress, sleep problems, or change in weight or appetite, consult a doctor immediately.
Some men resort to alcohol or substance abuse when the symptoms are more physical like headaches and stomach troubles. When you do not acknowledge the symptoms, it manifests into violence, anger, and impulsive behavior.
Get Help And Treat It Better
When you know that your partner is suffering from paternal postnatal depression, encourage him to get help. This is only good for both your partner and the family’s well-being.
Major consequences like mood disorders, damage in the relationship may result if left untreated. When the father goes through depression, it impacts on the psychological, social, and behavioral development of his children – especially boys, says research.
Treatment like talk therapy is very effective along with the medications. Depression treatments range from traditional to alternative. A licensed health professional can do wonders if you spot the symptoms and get help immediately.
Although depression is serious and painful, it is important to know that the consequences of paternal postnatal depression are avoidable. With proper treatment and support, you can take charge of your life and be happy!