Just like new moms, new dads, too, can face depression after the birth of a child, with a condition called paternal postnatal depression (PPND).
How Postnatal Depression Affects Men
According to a recent study in Pediatrics, dads affected by PPND are more likely to spank their children, less likely to read to them, and can negatively impact their children’s overall well-being. Lack of awareness, coupled with men’s tendency to hide their pain, compounds the problem.
Risk Factors for PPND
- lack of sleep
- personal history of depression
- poor relationship with spouse
- depressed spouse
- nonstandard family
- economic problems
- feeling stressed about becoming a dad
- feeling excluded from mother-baby bond
Where to Seek Help
- New Jersey’s 24/7 statewide helpline (800-328-3838). Depressed dads can call or go online at njspeakup.gov for advice and guidance.
- postpartummen.com. This website contains useful information, an online support forum, and a self-assessment.
Symptoms of Men’s Depression
- alcohol or drug use
- violent behavior
- complaints about physical problems
- concerns about work, or working constantly
- isolation from family and friends
- feeling that they’re “falling short” of their perception of manhood
Like women with post-partum depression, men with PPND might also experience:
- loss of sense of humor or enjoyment
- trouble sleeping
- feeling panicky and/or anxious
- loss of interest in sex
- loss of appetite
- crying and sadness