Postpartum Depression in FathersJun 18, 2020
Tim Culbert, MD
Important Fact: Up to 25% of fathers experience postpartum depression (PPD) and fathers may have different signs/symptoms than women who experience postpartum depression.
For example, men with PPD may not cry, but often feel more angry, irritable, or impulsive. They may also have trouble finding anything to do that gives them pleasure (anhedonia), experience relationship stress, and have trouble with sleep.
Studies suggest that dads with depression are at increased risk for substance abuse, domestic violence, and are more likely to discourage the child’s mother from breastfeeding.
Unfortunately, few dads are screened for PPD. The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale is starting to be used by professionals, but it's not common. It's an important issue that impacts the whole family when fathers with PPD go undiagnosed and therefore untreated.
For example, men with PPD are more likely to spank their kid(s) and less likely to interact with their kid(s) in positive ways such as playing with them, singing songs, or reading with them. Kids of these dads also have a higher likelihood of developmental delays when young and are more likely to have emotional/behavioral problems at later ages.
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