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Sad Dads: Postpartum Depression

According to research published yesterday by James F. Paulson, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics at Eastern Virginia Medical School, fathers in substantial numbers experience prenatal and postpartum depression.

His analysis shows that about 10 percent of fathers experience prenatal or postpartum depression. The first 3 months postpartum show the lowest rates of depression (7.7 percent), while the 3- to 6-month postpartum period shows the highest rate (25.6 percent).

A father sitting on child's bed looking sad.

The fathers depression may take a different tone, with more irritable and angry behaviors than the mother’s. And I have to wonder if the cause of Daddy’s blues is likely less chemically oriented than Mommy’s , but may nonetheless be potentially detrimental to the child.

Sounds like something for which we as parents should be on the lookout in both moms and dads. Family, friends and the medical community can also play an important role in identifying (as it isn’t always as easy for the sufferer to see in themselves) and helping.

What do you think? Are these daddy blues something you’ve seen in yourself or your spouse? What do you feel the cause may be? Perhaps sleep deprivation, added responsibilities or even less attention from the spouse? What do you think would be good ways to deal with it.

(Primary Source: www.evms.edu)

6 comments

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  1. Bluestocking

    This is the first I’ve ever heard of this. Thanks for the info.

    1. aDaddyBlog

      You’re welcome. Thanks for dropping by. I try to keep up on things pertinent to parents. This study just came out, and was news to me, too. I suppose I’m not entirely surprised. Even without all of the physical/biochemical issues women go through, there are a lot of other stessors that might effect either parent. And certainly sleep deprivation itself alone can account for some significant physical/mental impairment.

  2. rose

    I, think that anything is possible. It’s a big adjustment for new parents. Lack of sleep can make someone get tired, depressed. Have a good day.

    1. aDaddyBlog

      No kidding, Rose. I think you’re right. We joke about the sleep deprivation all parents experience, but there is a potentially darker side to it.

  3. christi

    I am sure that it has a lot to do with lack of sleep… but I think that a lot of depression from new dad’s come from lack of attention. Mom’s figure out a love that they never knew before… The combinations of less sleep, less attention and more responsibilities are a Prozac subscription just waiting to happen (actually do people still take Prozac?!?!)! I do think that it is good that someone is finally talking about PPD in men now… Maybe it can become a more open topic and people won’t be afraid to “get it” or keep it tied to a crazy hormone thing only women get. The more it is talked about the more people know and that will help identify the problem.

    1. aDaddyBlog

      Excellent points, Christi. I’m no expert, but your reasoning sounds spot on. Regardless of the cause it’s real and something that needs to be taken seriously in both parents. I bet there is at least some correlation between one parent having it and the other developing it, too. Yes, it’d be good to make it more acceptable for a guy to say, “Hey, I’m having a problem here.” Guys typically are less able to admit depression problems, and I imagine even less so if it’s called “postpartum depression”. Often depression manifests as anger or irritability in men. For the sake of their families guys need to realize it takes a strong man to say, “I need help.”

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