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Why Do Men Suffer from Postpartum Depression?

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Why Do Men Suffer from Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression has come into light recently as celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Hayden Panettiere have talked openly about their experiences after birth. But new moms aren’t the only ones who are suffering from postpartum depression. Research, published in JAMA Psychiatry, found that some new fathers are struggling too.

Earlier this week, Paste ran a story about a new drug that is helping dads deal with the effects of postpartum depression, but a closer look at a new study provides an explanation as to how the condition affects men in particular.

The study found that postpartum depression affected fathers in a different way. Instead of the sadness often associated with a mother’s postpartum depression, men were more likely to have feelings of anger and isolation, often leading to poor health. While only 2.3% of men showed depression symptoms during their partners’ third trimester, around 4.3% of men felt elevated depression symptoms by the time their babies were nice months old.

Unlike postpartum depression for women, a new father’s depression doesn’t stem from hormonal or biological changes. Instead, depression can from lack of sleep, changes in relationship dynamic and overall stress.

The researchers stress that postpartum depression is still more prevalent in women—around 11 to 20 percent of women are effected—however men who do suffer from PPD do not have as many resources or support. The study authors believe that the effects of the depression can lowered if it is identified and treated early on.

In order to find these results, the researchers studied the depression levels of 3,523 men living in New Zealand during their partner’s pregnancies and after birth. Depression was measured using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale and a health questionnaire.

If you or someone you know may be suffering from postpartum depression, talk to your doctor or you can find additional support on PostpartumProgress.com.

PC: PublicDomainPictures, CC-BY

Jane Snyder a health intern with Paste and a freelance writer and photojournalist based out of Athens, Georgia.

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