New Evidence on Men and PPD Pushes This Therapist to Change Her Mind

In my blog post of June 23, 2013, I wrote: My first reaction when I read that new dads are being diagnosed with a form of postpartum depression was: Oh no, can’t we even have our own disorder without men getting into the picture? And my second was: Now that the disorder is finally gaining attention in the media and the healthcare community, men are squeezing their way in, too.

Today, with more evidence that new dads can indeed suffer from postpartum depression (PPD), I’ve changed my mind about their entry into the illness. Fresh, updated information and evidence has caused me to offer an admission that I stand corrected.

The key word in my backtracking is “evidence” as many websites have been offering medical expertise and true-life stories of the suffering of new dads.

The Wise Geek web site suggests why PPD among new dads has been under the radar. “The main reason that this condition is lesser known is that men often find it difficult to talk about. Some men do not realize that they are suffering from the condition.”

Among the reasons for this condition, we find that sometimes, the disorder occurs in tandem. A man’s partner suffers from PPD and the dad finds himself “feeling overwhelmed, isolated, and stigmatized.”

In my own practice, I’ve witnessed marriages that have broken up because of the new mom’s PPD. Now we must throw into the mix, a dad’s suffering. Sadly, neither one of the couple may realize it’s the illness triggering the divorce. Both parents may be hiding their depression, and his/her better half is unaware of the cause of their mood swings.

Another reason for male PPD is the effect the new baby has on his life. If he works during the day and helps with the child at night, it can spur a physical condition that makes it difficult to put in a full day’s work.

Lack of support is an added factor in male PDD. Support groups for women are sometimes difficult to find, but few exist for men. The male gender typically is reluctant to talk about depression, and this unwillingness only exacerbates the problem.

Some of the symptoms of male PPD are similar to those of women, while others seem more common to men. These can include: feelings of isolation, mood swings, work-related problems, substance abuse, lethargy, anxiety attacks, loss of sex drive, difficulty in concentration, headaches, and stomach pains.

A feature of the Wise Geek website that I thought helpful were the comments left by their male audience. One dad, likely from England, wrote, “In the few weeks after our son’s birth, the gym, my cricket and football, road running, my allotment and my art all disappeared, yet to return. These hobbies made me happy (and exercise is great for endorphins/well being) and have yet to return. Replacing your hobbies with nappies and teething is stressful and boring.”

“We men feel how we feel – being told to harden up/step up our game etc is unhelpful (are we supposed to be emotional retards or, when we express how we feel get criticized for not being man enough-see my point?) and PND in Men should not be ignored.”

I certainly concur with his final point: PPD (or Post Natal Depression) in men should not be ignored. Any new dad who has symptoms should get immediate help by making an appointment with a healthcare professional. The longer the illness goes untreated, the more difficult it will be to gain a positive outcome.

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~ by ppdsus on May 7, 2014.

2 Responses to “New Evidence on Men and PPD Pushes This Therapist to Change Her Mind”

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