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Postnatal Depression Can Affect Dads Too

Although it is rarely discussed, new fathers may also suffer from postnatal depression (PND).

PND among mothers is being talked about more these days, as the negative stigma around it is beginning to lift. There is still a long way to go, but women are starting to speak out on the hot topic.

About 20% of women suffer from postnatal or postpartum depression but men may also struggle with this mental health problem. This news may come as a surprise because we typically do not hear about new dads having this issue. But, there is a reason for that. Diagnosing postnatal depression is nearly impossible to do in new dads, who like new mothers can suffer from anxiety and depression after the birth of a baby.

The symptoms of men who suffer from PND are very similar to those that women experience. However, because of the idea that men are supposed to be strong and unfeeling, they rarely come forward. Also, men may not necessarily realize that what they are experiencing is actually depression.

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While it is hard to diagnose men, as the conversation about women and postpartum depression grows, so does the awareness that it can impact both mothers and fathers. The data collected so far indicates that there are two factors that can cause depression in new dads. A strained relationship with their partner during pregnancy can trigger feelings of loneliness, and they may also develop PND if their partner has also suffered from depression.

The fact is that men struggle with becoming a father just as much as women do with becoming a mother. A man’s family role changes significantly as the pressure to provide and take care of their loved ones is heightened. According to the National Institute of Health, these pressures cause anywhere from 4-25% of men to suffer from PND.

Regarding treatment, the first step is realizing that there is an issue. Sadly, this is the most overlooked step, meaning it is the reason that men never understand what is happening. However, the longer men go without realizing that they have a problem, the more likely it will affect their relationship with their partner or child. It is important that men understand that they need help before anything can be done.

Whether you are a man or woman struggling after the birth of a baby, talk to someone, ask for help, and do not ignore it.

If you are experiencing any symptoms of postpartum or postnatal depression, as outlined here, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of treatment for you.

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