Why Dads Also Need Support for Postpartum Depression
True to what they say, no amount of books or advice can ever prepare you for the reality of being a new parent. It’s days filled with so much love, tiredness, excitement, and worry – all rolled into one!
When a family welcomes a new member, the focus is usually on the child and the mom. We often ask how the child is and how the mom is doing, but we rarely ask how the dads are. This is important to keep in mind as dads experience postpartum depression too.
Fathers and Postpartum Depression
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), about 4 to 25 percent of new fathers experience postpartum depression (PPD). However, unlike maternal PPD there is no specific criteria geared towards new fathers.
The diagnosis for PPD in new fathers rely on the guidelines for diagnosing PPD in new mothers. This includes:
- Change in sleeping patterns (either difficulty falling and staying asleep or sleeping too much)
- Feeling of hopelessness
- Unexplained anger
- Weight changes (severe weight loss or gain)
- Inability to concentrate
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
Why dads can get PPD
Contrary to what many believe, it’s not just women who experience hormonal fluctuations in this significant life change. Men experience it too.
When a child is born, certain changes are also happening in a man’s body. There is an increase in estrogen and a dip in testosterone level.
There is a higher chance for dads to experience PPD if their partner is also experiencing it. A study shows that the likelihood of fathers developing PPD can increase as much as 2.5 times if the partner is suffering from it.
Why PPD matters
PPD can affect the way you see yourself and the way you relate to others, including your kids. When left unmanaged, PPD can have serious consequences on the dad-child relationship. Studies show that the lack of interaction between the dad and the child increases the likelihood of behavioral issues in the kid later on in life.
What can be done
If you suspect you or your partner is experiencing PPD, it’s important to see a specialist. Talk therapy can help, just getting everything out of your chest or having a safe place to cry it out (if you need to).
You may also need medications to help manage your symptoms. Some people don’t tolerate the side effects of antidepressants so don’t feel discouraged or hopeless if this is your experience.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy can be your alternative treatment. It’s a noninvasive procedure that works well for people suffering from depressive or anxiety disorders. The side effects are minimal and there are plenty of studies supporting its safety and efficacy.
If you want to try it or want more information about it, you can set up a no-obligation consultation with us. For appointment requests, you may call NeurOasis TMS at (520) 338-2557.