Study: Postpartum depression also very common for dads

Postpartum depression has been largely regarded as an issue exclusive to women. But now, studies are finding the condition is also very much prevalent in men.

- Postpartum depression has been largely regarded as an issue exclusive to women. But now, studies are finding the condition is also very much prevalent in men.

Paternal postpartum depression (PPD), along with its impact on child development, is addressed in an article published this month in the University of Massachusetts’ Journal of Parent and Family Mental Health.

“It looks different than in women and that’s why it gets missed a lot,” Crystal Clancy, a licensed marriage and family counseling therapist and co-founder of Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Minnesota, said.

“In men, they do not walk around sad and crying. They’re typically more angry, more internal, more withdrawn from their partner, from the family,” Clancy said.

Clancy told Fox 9 paternal PPD has a strong link to how connected the father feels to the process of welcoming in a new addition.

“A lot of time attention is paid to baby and mom, so dad is left out of the picture,” Clancy said.

According to the recent article, studies suggest anywhere from four to 25 percent of fathers experience paternal PPD. Research suggests dad is at risk if mom is suffering from PPD herself.

While paternal PPD symptoms are similar for fathers and mothers and can include loss of interest in activities, significant weight loss or gain, anxiety, thoughts of self-harm or suicide,  some symptoms are unique to men.

“Men are at more risk when they’re depressed of engaging in risky behaviors: compulsive driving, drinking, drug use, etc.,” Clancy said.

“They’re also more likely to be violent and engage in abusive behaviors towards mom, towards baby, other children in the home so that’s definitely something to be aware of,” Clancy added.

Experts say the key to catching paternal PPD may be increased screening.

“Hospitals and pediatricians offices were doing a better job at screening that could be a piece of the puzzle,” Clancy said.

However, raising awareness and making sure both mom and dad are know they both deserve support is also key to helping prevent PPD.

“We just need a better understanding of what are the things that led up to that and how can we prevent it,” Clancy said. “The more that we approach it from different angles, I think the more normal it's going to get to talk about it and to address problems before they become bigger issue.”

Clancy suggests anyone who notices signs of PPD or paternal PPD in their family consult with a trained perinatal therapist. There are also education groups and support groups in Minnesota for suffering families.

To reach out to the Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Minnesota Helpline you can call 612-787-PPSM (7776) , email ppsmhelpline@gmail.com or visit ppsupportmn.org.


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