Dads Feel It Too: Postpartum Depression In Men Is A Real Thing

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Postpartum depression can be gripping for mothers of newborns, debilitating even. Now a new study says men may be dealing with PPD too after a new baby.

The study, which was published in the journal Hormones and Behavior, found that fathers may also suffer from postpartum depression and testosterone hormone changes may be partially to blame.

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The Reason For Postpartum Depression In Men

Researchers measured each father’s testosterone level through saliva samples and found a correlation between dropping testosterone levels and feelings of depression. A 2010 meta-analysis of several studies supported that about 10 percent of dads could also be suffering from PPD.

“Our findings suggest a potential biological and hormonal correlate of depression during the postpartum period,” the new study’s author, Darby Saxbe, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Southern California, said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune.

Postpartum depression can manifest in symptoms such as irritability, sadness, anxiety (sometimes severe and crippling anxiety known as postpartum anxiety), sleeplessness and in severe cases, self-harm.

Pregnant woman and new mothers are screened through their OB offices and pediatrician’s offices to ensure they are feeling secure and safe, but postpartum depression is still reported in 10-15 percent of the new mother population each year. The Centers for Disease Control actually states that about 1 in 5 women suffer from PPD after having a baby.

However, because men don’t have the same pre and post care, the cases are harder to diagnose and therefore treat.

California psychotherapist Will Courtenay told the Chicago Tribune that PPD can also manifest differently in men. They may become more irritable, work more or turn to vices to help cope.

“Postpartum depression in men is not so easy to spot,” he said and added that according to meta-analysis in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “one in four dads suffers from postnatal depression,” in the three to six-month period following childbirth.

Why Are New Dads Feeling This Way

Psychotherapist Bruce Linton, who runs a support group for new dads, said father’s today are taking more active roles in parenting children than they have in past decades. This leaves them feeling unprepared and dealing with more anxiety about being a father. Finding support among other fathers seems to help.

“Because dads are more involved in parenting, it challenges their identities as men,” he said. “Meeting with other dads and talking about the stress that fatherhood brings is helpful.”

Read the abstract for the study here.

For more news and research, click here. 

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  • Alexandra April 19, 2018 12.41 pm

    Had never considered that Dad’s might get what we used to call “the baby blues”. Very informative post.

  • Cheyenne April 19, 2018 02.30 pm

    This is so true … we screen women but often forget this is a huge transition for dad as well ! I think mental health issues in men is often over looked … great article

  • Jolene April 19, 2018 03.19 pm

    Wow! I never knew dads can suffer from post-natal depression too. Thanks for sharing. My brother is about to have his 3rd child this summer and this is great info.

  • Cristina – Memories of the Pacific April 19, 2018 05.21 pm

    I had no idea about this! I always thought that postpartum only affected moms because it has to do with the hormone revolution women go through.

  • Lee April 19, 2018 05.54 pm

    Wow! I never would have thought men could suffer as well. Very interesting post!

  • Belle April 19, 2018 06.52 pm

    This is interesting and an eye opener for everyone! I never thought dads can experience it too.

  • Julie April 19, 2018 11.18 pm

    Such a big change with a new baby can also put a toll on a dad too.

  • Jennifer April 19, 2018 11.41 pm

    Very informative read! I adopted all 4 of my children and with the first two definitely had postpartum. Same symptoms as a new mom, but I had not given birth. I often let prospective adoptive moms know that it is a possibility and have many said they have encountered the same. Now I will let Dad’s know to be on the lookout as well. Thanks for this post.

  • Jordan | Read. Eat. Repeat. April 20, 2018 02.28 am

    I remember reading something about low testosterone in new dads once a while ago but I had really forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder! I have several friends and family members expecting their first child soon so this is a good thing to be aware of.

  • GiGi Eats April 20, 2018 04.32 am

    It’s just a sudden change of life style, of course people are going to get throw out of their routine and then… Get sad because of it! I think it’s totally normal, now if it lasts more than 6 month, then there could be more of an underlying problem.

  • Jenna April 20, 2018 06.53 pm

    I saw your post about this topic on your facebook page. Very interesting info. I’m not that surprised by it, though. SO much changes in a home with the addition of a baby. Hoping that bringing this topic to light helps people find the help they need – and I mean moms AND dads!

  • Lindsay April 21, 2018 03.00 am

    Wow, I had never considered PPD in fathers, but this explains in quite well. Thank you for bringing attention to this important issue.

  • Pat April 21, 2018 05.51 pm

    So new dads suffer from “baby blues” too? It makes sense since fatherhood can be a stressful change in marriage.

  • Elizabeth O April 21, 2018 06.47 pm

    This is a really interesting point to ponder, I can see how men would also be affected by PPD especially in these times where they have a bigger hands on role. I hope there starts to be more awareness on this issue raised.

  • Marissa Zurfluh April 21, 2018 08.09 pm

    I never realized how serious it could be! Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

  • Vanessa Delia April 21, 2018 08.11 pm

    This breaks my heart. So many fathers have been there for their kids, and this is such a real thing that we need to remember!

  • Holly Lasha April 21, 2018 11.38 pm

    Excellent viewpoint. I love where you are coming from with this. Thanks for the encouraging words!!

  • Hey Sharonoox April 22, 2018 12.30 am

    This is such an interesting read! Agree that dad with depression has to seek professional help.

  • Ashley April 22, 2018 01.08 am

    This is actually really interesting. We don’t have kids but it’s good to know to be on the lookout for this if we ever do.

  • Jenn April 22, 2018 04.40 am

    This is so interesting, but I can now see how it is absolutely a potential issue.

  • Annemarie LeBlanc April 22, 2018 06.06 am

    I have never thought that men could go through the same kind of post natal depression. Although the symptoms may vary, it is still an issue that needs attention. Thanks for this informative post.

  • Jennifer Prince April 22, 2018 02.09 pm

    I never even realized that men could go through this. It totally makes sense though and probably needs to be talked about more.

  • Janella Panchamsingh April 22, 2018 04.01 pm

    I didnt think men could honestly go through it as well, but i all makes sense when you think about it

  • Esme Sy April 23, 2018 09.00 am

    I have to agree that most men today are more responsible than ever. The unfortunate phase of being unprepared can always be remedied, that’s why I vote that instead of completely worrying about how to fix depression, there’s also several good ways to eliminate the cause of the feelings and anxiety instead. It starts with emotional support from the others.

  • Beth eaton April 23, 2018 12.31 pm

    This is a very real thing that so many people overlook.

  • HB410 April 29, 2018 05.40 am

    I’m sorry, but if you studied on any chemical imbalances or real scientific evidence. You’ll find that “men PPD” does not exist. Women get it because we actually experience hormonal changes during pregnancy and after. Our whole body is out of whack.
    Men on the other hand, don’t experience this. I think what seems more correct is a simple baby blues. Or, just the father not studying or being ready to be a father. A lot of men think having a kid will be “no big deal” and leave women to do all the studying about it. So when the baby comes, they are overwhelmed to the max. Because they did not prepare. Thinking they knew it all.
    And I’m sorry to say, but it’s the same for adoptive parents. It is not PPD. I don’t doubt they may have the Baby Blues, but PPD comes with chemical imbalances and hormonal changes.

    The reason why it is dangerous to spread something like this is because a lot of men or others will downplay when women have real PPD because they can say “oh yeah I have that too!” When all they’re really feeling is simple Baby Blues. Therefore, women will think they are overthinking it and not get help because their husbands seem to be doing fine.

    It is not the same, and I hope you do more research and actually bring scientific evidence.

  • Miljana April 30, 2018 11.26 pm

    Well this post is really touchable and true. I remember my husband who felt it only because of my behavior. We should really pay attention to them at that time (or at least – warn them before). I hope every woman has a person who will warn her before. 🙂


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